• Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price attended the launch. Credit: @Melissa4Durack
    Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price attended the launch. Credit: @Melissa4Durack

The WA State Government has established the Defence Science Centre (DSC).

Launched by Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia, the DSC is a collaboration between the State and Commonwealth governments and WA’s four public universities.

One of the DSC’s key roles will be to act as a matchmaker between universities, government and industry to support security and technology development and capability requirements, with a particular focus on WA’s defence industry.

The University of WA researcher Professor David Badcock is already working as part of a national research team looking at realising the benefits of augmented reality devices. Minister Papalia said the project, which seeks to understand risks and identify ways of realising enhanced capabilities through development of a prototype adaptive AR interface, is a prime example of how the DSC will link Western Australian researchers with cutting-edge defence technology.

The DSC will be governed by a board of academic and industry experts, chaired by Russell Potapinski, GM Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, Woodside. The centre will facilitate university-government-industry research and skills exchange via actively cultivating relationships and linkages.

DSC grants will be an important tool in supporting the facilitation of these exchanges and will set the conditions for commercial opportunities in industry, and business development.

The DSC is also partnering  with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute's (AMSI) APR.Intern program to increase the number of internship projects undertaken by SMEs in WA’s defence sector. This partnership will see 10 STEM PhD students placed into industry to undertake short-term focused research projects.

AMSI Director Professor Tim Brown welcomed the opportunity to partner with DSC to provide WA STEM PhD students with the opportunity to develop industry skills while helping drive real-world defence innovation. 

“We are excited to open this powerful platform for Western Australian universities to complement specialist PhD training with defence industry experience while delivering real-world innovation solutions,” Professor Brown said.

Minister Papalia congratulated all parties involved in the creation of the DCS, including Defence West, the Defence Science Technology Group, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of WA.

“We have established the Defence Science Centre to create the right conditions for the development of cutting-edge science and innovation in WA," Minister Papalia said. “Developing a DSC in WA will greatly enhance collaboration between the academic and industry sectors, and makes us part of a broader national network of defence-related research.

“This will enable WA researchers to more easily link into projects, boosting our own State’s capability and future-proofing WA’s defence industry, keeping and growing skills and knowledge here and creating job opportunities for Western Australians.”

“We welcome the establishment of the Defence Science Centre," Curtin University Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Chris Moran, said. "This new centre will play a critical role in strengthening our collaborative efforts to build WA’s defence science capability and to grow the state’s defence industry.” 

“ECU is committed to making a difference through programs that are relevant and responsive to the real world needs of our community," ECU Vice Chancellor, Professor Steve Chapman, said. "Defence has an important role to protect Australia and our national interests, which would benefit from our leading edge research in collaboration with our WA university partners and be greatly assisted by the establishment of the Defence Science Centre.”

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