The Department of Defence is inviting research proposals from industry and universities with a view to enhance the cyber capabilities of the Australian Defence Force.
Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, said the agency wants academia and industry to collaborate with Defence Science and Technology Group, and CSIRO’s digital research network, Data61, to deliver technology developments and demonstrator systems within three to five years.
Specifically, the Department highlighted that it aims to understand the potential of cyber technologies, create prototype systems, and demonstrate the practical application of systems to Defence problems.
Funding of up to $650,000 will be provided through the Next Generation Technologies Fund for the cyber research program.
Initial proposals will be funded for 12 months with the option of future funding for promising projects, the department said. Applications close 15 August with proposals to be submitted through the Defence Innovation website.
Specifically, the department highlighted some key project areas such as trustworthy machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques; symbolic execution for rapid threat analysis; formal verification of network control protocols.
In addition, identifying and mitigating data privacy issues relating to AI and machine learning as well as detecting and analysing vulnerabilities in concurrent software.
“Malicious cyber activity costs Australian business and families over $1 billion every year, and malicious cyber activity from state and non-state actors is a threat to Australia’s national security,” Pyne said in a statement.
“The government encourages Australia’s scientists and researchers to contribute to the development of cyber capabilities, which is a priority for national security.”
The Federal Government's $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund is managed by the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, and aims to provide new capabilities for the Australian Defence Force.
In January, the Department of Defence signalled its intentions to pour $6 million into quantum technologies research to highlight its potential benefits and practical limitations.