Seven Collaborative Research Grants boost WA defence projects

Collaborative Research Grant

Seven collaborative defence research projects based in Western Australia will receive a $870,000 boost from the government, in the third round of WA Defence Science Centre’s (DSC) Collaborative Research Grant funding. 

The projects will cover a wide range of initiatives, including weapon-mounted sensors, uncrewed aerial vehicles, space-based optical communications systems and biological warfare defence. 

“Collaboration is key to growing the defence sector in Western Australia,” Defence Industry minister Paul Papalia said. 

“The DSC’s Collaborative Research Grant is helping build new connections between innovative small and medium enterprises and the defence research sector. 

“By investing in innovative technologies, we are helping to strengthen WA’s defence industry capabilities, commercialise emerging technologies and diversify the State’s economy,” he said. 

The funded projects are outlined below: 

Project title  Lead researcher 
Assessing microbiologically influenced corrosion and material deterioration at HMAS Stirling.  Dr Katerina Lepkova
Led by Curtin University in collaboration with Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and Duratec Australia. 
Using weapon-mounted sensors and machine learning to determine human-weapon-system performance.  Professor Iain Murray
Led by Curtin University in collaboration with the University of Western Australia (UWA), DSTG and Nuheara. 
Enhancing space-based optical communications using infrared technology.  Emeritus Professor Mervyn Lynch
Led by Curtin University in collaboration with UWA, Aires and DSTG. 
Modelling human processing mechanisms to maximise multisensory information processing efficiency in complex decision environments.  Dr Zachary Howard
Led by UWA in collaboration with the United States Air Force, Defence and DSTG. 
Delivery of uncrewed aerial vehicle via autonomous uncrewed ground vehicle for autonomous sensing/search of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments.  Elliot Nicholls, Director
Led by Stealth Technologies in collaboration with UWA and DSTG. 
Advanced development of therapeutics against bacterial pathogens of biowarfare concern.  Dr Mitali Sarkar-Tyson
Led by UWA in collaboration with Murdoch University, Monash University and DMTC. 
Developing innovative ‘spray on’ super-hydrophobic surfaces for marine antifouling applications.  Dr Gérrard Eddy Jai Poinern
Led by Murdoch University in collaboration with DSTG and Curtin University. 

The WA DSC was established following advocacy by the Western Australian government, after it came to office in 2017 and created a Defence Industry Portfolio. It receives funding from the state government and Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund. 

Successful applicants demonstrated a clear link to Defence’s technology-themed Next Generation Technologies Fund priorities, or the Collaborative Research Grant round three theme of maritime maintenance and sustainment. 

Launched in 2019, the grant initiative provides seed funding, ranging from $50,000 to $150,000, and is available for collaborations between universities, industry and government that include at least one DSC-member university. 

In total, the three rounds have resulted in almost $2.5 million in funding for 18 research projects. 

The WA DSC’s Collaborative Research Grant supports the strategic goals of the state government’s Western Australian Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan, which aims to grow the local defence sector and create jobs. 

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