The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) was officially launched by the Honourable Meaghan Scanlon, the Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs, at a breakfast event at Parliament House on June 16.
Ninety guests including stakeholders from the Department of Defence, State Government, on the ground defence personnel, academia and industry partners attended the event to officially mark the beginning of QDSA and this exciting chapter for Queensland’s Defence industry.
Below we share some of the key insights shared by guest speakers on the morning, including:
- Professor Cara Wrigley, QDSA Director
- Retired Lieutenant General John Caligari AO, DSC, QDSA Chair
- Brigadier Mark Ascough, Commander of Australian Army’s 6th Brigade, and
- Dr David Kershaw, Chief Science Engagement and Impact Division DSTG
QDSA Director Professor Cara Wrigley, said while we might be the last state to establish such a network, the Queensland alliance would move quickly to foster innovative ideas that our state is renowned for.
“We are committed to enhancing Queensland’s capability pipeline, to rapidly translate ideas within the defence enterprise,” Professor Cara Wrigley said.
“We do this by bringing together the sharpest multidisciplinary minds across the state’s seven leading universities – The University of Queensland, The University of Southern Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, The University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, Griffith University and Central Queensland University.”
QDSA’s primary aim is to accelerate capability advantage: “Advantage for the Defence force, advantage for Queensland industry and advantage for Queensland academic institutions.”
“This advantage, however, can only be gained through connection and real collaboration, by creating an agile ecosystem responsive to Australian Defence Force’s needs and the problem context at hand.”Professor Cara Wrigley, QDSA Director
The QDSA achieved its first ambitious goal, to run its first activity before the 100-day milestone. The alliance along with local small business hosted Defence personnel from all three services of the Australian Defence Force which has culminated in wide range of vehicle solution prototypes that are currently under development.
The role of science and technology
QDSA Chair, retired Lieutenant General John Caligari AO, DSC, said science and technology investment enables our country’s defence to counter military threats as well as expand military options available to policy makers.
“Science and technology underpin all of defence’s capabilities to counter threats and support communities.
“It underpins the national and defence intelligence capabilities necessary to assess the dangers our nation faces and how we will employ our capabilities against those threats,” he said.
“I intend to ensure our Queensland collaboration, the Queensland Defence Science Alliance, produces the best science and technology research effect our Queensland universities and defence industry can offer, and bring it together with the work of all of the alliances in the best interests of Australian defence capability.”Retired Lieutenant General John Caligari AO, DSC; QDSA Chair
Capability for the Australian Defence Force
Brigadier Mark Ascough, Commander of Australian Army’s 6th Brigade said the Australian Defence Force looks forward to working with the QDSA now and into the future.
“Defence recognises the critical importance of building strong sovereign industry to develop the capability edge for the Australian Defence Force. But we also recognise that it takes a whole-of-nation research and development approach to achieve this,” he said.
“We all have a vested interest in making it easier for our university and industry partners to engage with us in the military. And as military professionals we want to make sure that the best ideas are identified early, that they’re fit for purpose, they’re field tested, accelerated, and rapidly transitioned into hard operational capability that can be deployed into the contemporary battlespace.”Brigadier Mark Ascough, Commander of Australian Army’s 6th Brigade
To be successful in the new and demanding operational environment, Brigadier Ascough said we must empower alliances – like QDSA – to help us work together and be prepared to adopt new and different ways of collaborating.
Dr David Kershaw, the Chief Science Engagement and Impact Division DSTG added, “I’m looking (forward) to the fantastic things that Queensland will bring to the set of networks and ultimately to helping us have that scale, focus and impact required for defence.”
Defence is a one of eight emerging and priority areas for Queensland as outlined in the Advance Queensland Strategy with the State Government committed to creating 3,500 new full-time jobs by 2028.
Established in 2021, the Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative committed to creating an agile ecosystem that enhances Queensland’s capability pipeline to rapidly translate ideas into reality within the Defence enterprise.
Bringing together the sharpest multi-disciplinary minds across seven leading Queensland Universities, industry partners, government and Defence, the QDSA focusses on sovereign collaboration and innovation to accelerate Defence’s capability edge.