The Australian Government has launched the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund targeting Australian defence capability and innovation.
Led by the Defence’s Science and Technology Group, the fund is a ten year strategic R&D program that will draw on the collective expertise from both industry and university sectors.
Its initial investment will be in the Grand Challenges program, in which innovators will be asked to propose solutions for specific problems put forward by Defence.
According to Defence Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, the first such challenge will be to counter improvised threats, which in the military context include unconventional threats such as chemical and biological hazards.
The new fund will also establish Defence Cooperative Research Centres, university research networks, a Defence research accelerator scheme, an innovation research initiative for small business, and expanded technology foresighting activities.
Minister Pyne said that the new initiative will complement the Defence Innovation Hub launched last year, and together form the core of a new Defence Innovation System.