The University of Tasmania's Defence Network connects academia with industry to enhance Australia's defence capability and support our nation's security.
Defence Research and Development
Innovative research from the University of Tasmania’s Defence Network is providing next generation solutions to national and international defence industries.
The University’s cross-disciplinary Defence Network is focused on research to solve complex, long term challenges for the Australian Defence Force and strengthen the nation’s capabilities in defence science. It represents a repository of high-level expertise in areas important to defence, closely linked to industry and government.
Discover more about our world-leading research below
Our Key Research Areas
The University of Tasmania's Australian Maritime College (AMC) is a world-renowned centre of excellence for maritime and marine research. We are committed to furthering our understanding of how to build, operate and sustain the maritime sector. Our research aims to add to the sum of human knowledge, drive innovation, meet the needs of industry and defence and bring broad benefits to society.
The University is a major collaborator in world-leading research capitalising on the robotic age of Antarctic exploration and AMC has joined with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Sciences (IMAS) to be the lead partner of the ARC Antarctic Gateway Partnership, a multimillion dollar research initiative. The University also has considerable engineering expertise, research collaborations in the areas of electrical propulsion in maritime transport, renewable energy and maritime fuel optimisation.
Based at the University of Tasmania, the ARC Research Training Centre for Naval Design and Manufacturing (RTCNDM) is transforming Australia's naval manufacturing industry by training a new cohort of industry-focused, high-level and broadly skilled engineers and engineering researchers. The goal is to enable the Australian naval manufacturing industry to more rapidly evolve and innovate, and solve the key problems currently restricting the efficient design, construction and sustainment of Australia’s naval platforms.
The University of Tasmania is the home of the Cavitation Research Laboratory, a unique facility in Australia and one of a handful of such experimental laboratories in the world.
The hydrodynamic behaviours of submerged structures such as submarines and ship hulls are tested, helping us to understand how water flows around an object and causes cavitation - the formation of bubbles. Cavitation, a violent and noisy process, can affect the operability and longevity of equipment, as well as cause noise pollution and problems for vessels that require low noise levels for their survival. The Cavitation Research Laboratory plays a key role when providing research and advice on the future development of submarines, destroyers, patrol boats and other maritime vessels. It is used heavily by defence and related industries to understand how to reduce the effects of cavitation.
Research undertaken at the University investigates marine propulsors and control surfaces, as well as mechanisms for air entertainment about ship hulls, the effects of propellers and control surfaces in mixing and bubble breakup, and subsequent dispersion and dissipation of bubbles in the ship wake.
The University's industry-supported Centre for Renewable Energy & Power Systems (CREPS) is helping to meet the power challenges of the 21st century - CREPS advances research in the area of renewable energy and electrical power. The Centre works in conjunction with the US NAVY to explore low load capabilities of modern diesel engines. CREPS provides our partners with access to several University laboratory facilities, including a purpose built renewable energy laboratory and software for simulation, modelling and analysis in energy and power systems applications.
The University has considerable capability in collecting, interpreting and visualising data which has potential for application in the field of cyber security. Sense-T, a partnership between the University, CSIRO and the Tasmanian Government, with funding from the Australian Government, was a first mover in the Internet of Things and big data.
The University of Tasmania also leads the NCRIS funded Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) which operates a wide range of observing equipment throughout Australia's coastal and open oceans. All of its data is made accessible to the marine and climate science community, other stakeholders and users, and international collaborators.
Our TerraLuma research project is developing innovative tools and processes for environmental remote sensing applications and aerial surveys using unmanned aircraft systems. It aims to provide current and accurate spatial data for precision mapping and monitoring in remote locations such as Antarctica. The research has applications that inform modern environmental management, terrain assessment and image simulation applications relevant to modern security and defence scenarios.
The University's Human Interface Technology Laboratory Australia (HITLab AU) is exploring the configuration and application of advanced human-computer interface (HCI) technologies. Through collaboration with industry partners a key focus is the application of cutting-edge ICT technology and HCI can increase productivity and create innovative applications.
As an international centre of excellence in radio astronomy, space geodesy (including positioning) and remote sensing earth observation, the University of Tasmania has for decades, played a vital role in maintaining and improving the geographic coordinate system for the Australian continent. The University operates one of the major elements of AuScope, part of the Federal Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) that has established the facilities to study in unprecedented detail the structure and evolution of the Australian continent. The AuScope Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) project comprises three new radio telescopes built and operated by the University of Tasmania. These facilities provide an integrated spatial positioning system spanning the whole continent, enabling:
- mm-accurate positions for real-time vehicle and aircraft positioning and navigation
- techniques to better identify and study regions of seismic risk, especially those associated with populated areas and mining
- precise measurement of variations in sea level
As part of its Antarctic and Southern Ocean research, the University is exploring 'Cube Sats' technology for prototyping and calibrating airborne sensors as well as realising novel measurement concepts for remote sensing and geodetic applications. 'Cube Sat' technology offers practicable and comparably inexpensive opportunities to test and develop space technologies as well.
Sense-T has created a unique Internet of Things ecosystem that enables users to make informed production and operational decisions from data. The University's innovative Sense-T Data Platform allows near real-time data to be acquired, processed, bundled, analysed and visualised, enabling industry partners and government to store data related to the physical world, and overlay it with a dynamic spatiotemporal component. Decisions can then be made based on the location and context for their specific needs. The Sense-T Data Platform also provides a unique foundation for protecting confidential information and enabling the use and sharing of data. The Platform is a central hub where data can be drawn into an ecosystem of external applications specific to industry sectors.
The University recently invested in upgrading the high-performance computer (HPC) cluster technology which underpins much of our research as it becomes increasingly data intensive - particularly relating to urgent scientific problems in astronomy, climate and ocean sciences. HPC technologies are also helping to advance fields in engineering and health and medical research. The University also hosts TPAC, The Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing (which provides comprehensive eResearch support across the state.
Explosive detection technology developed by the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS) at the University of Tasmania has enabled the detection of trace levels of inorganic explosives on people, shoes and other items in under a minute. The technology underpins the first instrumentation in the world to detect inorganic explosives, overcoming the limitation of existing screening techniques that struggle to detect these materials. ACROSS is engaged with developing a range of chemical and biomedical sensors through the innovative integration of analytical chemistry and additive manufacturing. The utilisation of these new technologies in homeland security, environmental guardianship and defence applications represents a significant contribution to stewardship of Australia’s assets. The ARC Training Centre for Portable Analytical Separation Technologies (ASTech) hosted by the University of Tasmania is developing new capabilities and technologies that have the potential to progress the deployment of portable analytical systems.
The Tasmanian Cognition Laboratory is leading the experimental investigation and mathematical and computational modelling of cognitive processes that underpin decision making, language, attention, memory, and learning. This human factors research is critical to modern defence where it contributes to the development of human capability, enhances cognitive and physical performance and survivability, and ensures protection at the individual and enterprise levels. This research is also contributing to the understanding of team processes and the optimisation of collective performance and organisational behaviour.
The Centre for Food Innovation is focussed on conducting innovative food and nutritional research with applications in defence as well as civilian markets such as food service for restaurants, aged care and airlines. The centre is home to a new Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) facility that will enable the development of new, high quality ready-made meals and will be a focus point for defence and industry collaborations that facilitate regional development. The work is a collaboration between the University of Tasmania, Commonwealth Government's Defence Science and Technology Group and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
The importance of social and professional practices to health outcomes, and lived experiences of health and disability are an important aspect of modern health, well-being and wellness and informs human factors research and the development of sociotechnical systems in a defence context. Relevant research across Social Sciences and the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in this area includes physical activity, gym/fitness cultures and the assessment of therapeutic landscapes as well as sport as an agent for development and peace.
UTAS Defence Network to be showcased on Defence Tasmania stand at Pacific 2019 Conference & Exposition