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The Defence Innovation Hub has awarded $67 million in innovation contracts in the 2019 calendar year so far, the highest level of investment to date.

Assistant Secretary of the Defence Innovation Hub, Andrew Hodgkinson, said 84% of the hub’s investments are with Australia’s micro, small and medium sized enterprises, and 14% of the hub’s partners are new entrants to Australia’s defence industry.\

“We’re maturing our processes, which means faster decision making, more communication and importantly more new contract executions,” Mr Hodgkinson said.

The hub has also introduced a new ‘rapid assessments’ initiative, which complements its existing methods of seeking innovation proposals from industry.

“Rapid assessments allow Defence capability managers to quickly obtain answers from industry and academia about capability gaps and opportunities, or understand industry’s capacity to meet future requirements,” Mr Hodgkinson said.

“A rapid assessment doesn’t involve technology development. Instead, we run an assessment and deliver a report to capability managers in response to a capability question they’ve asked, to help inform their decisions.”

Rapid assessments replace the ‘quick look / quick answers’ service previously provided under the Rapid Prototype Development and Evaluation Program. They are run as needed and driven by Defence’s strategic force design and capability needs.

Since it began operations in December 2016 the Defence Innovation Hub has awarded 81 innovation contracts valued at over $125 million, and 12 special notice contracts valued at around $10 million. To date, the Defence Innovation Hub has conducted two rapid assessments valued at more than $370,000.

The Defence Innovation Hub is investing in a range of capability areas, with 86% of investments made within its top three capability priorities:

  • intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber
  • key enablers
  • land combat, amphibious warfare and special operations stream

The Defence Innovation Hub accepts proposals at all stages of innovation, from early concept exploration and testing through to advanced prototypes and evaluation.