Researchers at three Australian universities will collaborate with their American counterparts to explore the use of trusted autonomous systems for cyber security as part of the Next Generation Technologies Fund’s (NGTF) Australia—US Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (AUSMURI) program. The University of Melbourne, Macquarie University and the University of Newcastle, will share $3 million of funding toward their joint project with the University of Wisconsin. The aim of the project will be to develop autonomous cyber security systems through robust and effective teaming of bots and humans.

Dr David Kershaw, Chief Science Engagement and Impact Division said the AUSMURI program not only helps to grow local skills and expertise, but also supports Australian university staff collaborating with US academics to address high-priority topics in Defence capability. “The joint project, led in Australia by the University of Melbourne, will explore how cyber bots can learn and form teams, either amongst themselves or with humans, to counter cyber threats,” Kershaw said. “Improved security through cyber autonomy is critical for Defence’s future in highly challenging and adverse environments. This research aligns with Defence’s Science Technology and Research programs, known as STaR Shots. It provides another valuable opportunity to work alongside counterparts in the United States.”

Over the nine years of the AUSMURI program, the NGTF will invest a total of $25 million on topics of high priority for Australian and US defence organisations. The topic for the next AUSMURI round, Bio-architected Responsive Materials with 3D Nanoscale Order, was announced in March 2021; and a grant is expected to be made in mid-2022. The NGTF seeks research and development proposals from Australian universities and small to medium enterprises to support Defence capability.


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