University of South Australia defence industry research showcased


The importance of collaboration between researchers and industry in delivering capability to the Australian Defence Force was on show at the Adelaide Convention Centre last week. 

The University of South Australia hosted the inaugural Defence Research Symposium, bringing together its own experts with representatives from the Australian Defence Force, the Department of Defence and large and small defence companies.  

It is important for researchers to understand who their end customer is and how they operate, University of South Australia director of Defence and Space Matt Opie said. 

“We do world class research in many areas of defence technology, but what really counts is how it ends up being used by our defence force,” Opie said. 

“Defence capability is often a combination of university research and industry know-how and this symposium will showcase some of what we have done with industry. This event is a great opportunity for discussions and networking to support our research and collaborations into the future.” 

Researchers from the University of South Australia presented their defence research, including: 

  • an “invisibility cloak” that can make a drone change colour to match the sky, thereby evading detection; 
  • human factors research that makes life more bearable for ADF personnel in adverse conditions such as submarines; 
  • a financial model to make it easier for small companies to survive and grow in the tough environment of defence contracting. 

Discussion panels will include insights from industry leaders, featuring University of South Australia industry professor Christopher Pyne. 

A panel discussion will look at the importance of the defence sector being agile enough to pivot in line with recent major announcements on the AUKUS alliance and the change in strategy for submarine procurement. 

Wing Commander Maria Jiminez, deputy director Orion AP-3C / Triton sustainment manager for the Royal Australian Air Force at RAAF Edinburgh will be the symposium keynote speaker. 

Case studies were presented showcasing successful collaborations between University of South Australia researchers, defence industry and defence force. 

These include the combination of University of South Australia Artificial Intelligence research with state of the art augmented and virtual reality training, and simulation with Adelaide based SME Lumination, working in conjunction with defence prime, BAE Systems Australia.