Research initiative Defence Trailblazer is investing over $200 million in disruptive new technologies that will directly translate into capability for the Australian Defence Force.
Teaming up with more than 40 local companies, the University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales will lead the acceleration of commercializing research on quantum tech, information warfare, and other cutting-edge military capabilities.
Core areas of the program will lean heavily on fast-tracking startups, developing technologies on the way to commercialization, and accelerating research opportunities through PhD scholarships.
Defence Trailblazer has recently invested $1.25 million of seed funding, matched by $500,000 from private investors in defense-focused startups this year.
Innovating Australia’s Defense
Defence Trailblazer said that it is focusing on upskilling the workforce to address ongoing industry challenges with the rapid development of new, advanced technologies.
“We are looking forward to seeing the growth of the companies we have invested in. Support for home grown innovation in our geopolitical climate is critical to keeping us one step ahead of our adversaries,” Defence Trailblazer Innovation Manager Liz Kobold said.
Focusing on Quantum Tech
The program, through the Advanced Innovation Fund, will contribute to establishing a quantum silicon (Q-Si) production plant in Sydney that can make materials for quantum computing chips.
“The Q-Si project will develop a sovereign end-to-end supply chain for critical quantum materials, essential for silicon quantum computing,” said Defence Trailblazer Executive Director Sanjay Mazumdar.
The focus on quantum tech will bolster the Australian Defence Force’s sensing and imaging capabilities, as well as its subterranean detection technologies.
Innovations in the quantum field have been a prime focus for the country in recent years, with the Australian Army publishing a roadmap in 2021 describing opportunities for advances in warfare environments.