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WA centre to boost science of defence

WA is to get its own Defence Science Centre, which will boost the State’s capability and maximise local defence-related research and development opportunities.

The centre, to be housed at Defence West in East Perth, is a collaboration between the State and Federal governments and WA’s four public universities. It is a key outcome of the McGowan Government’s WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan.

Until now, WA has lagged other States which have similar centres.

Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia, who will launch the centre today, said it was established to create the right conditions for the development of cutting-edge science and innovation in WA.

The centre will be 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.

It will facilitate the exchange of research and skills between universities, government and industry by actively cultivating relationships and linkages, supported by grants which will be issued by the DSC.

It will also partner with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s APR.Intern program to increase internship projects by small and medium enterprises in the defence sector.

Under the agreement, 10 PhD students in the APR.Intern program will be placed into short-term, focused SME-led defence innovation projects over the next two years.

“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,” Mr Papalia said.

The DSC will be governed by a board of academic and industry experts, chaired by Woodside’s general manager of intelligent and autonomous systems Russell Potapinski.

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