University of South Australia and University of Adelaide have joined five universities in the United Kingdom and United States to support the AUKUS alliance. World-class defence experts from seven universities in the US, UK and Australia have formed the Digital Disruption in Defence Research Consortium, which will analyse and assess cutting-edge data in partnership with government and industry. It will also coordinate research to better understand the implications of digital disruption for defence, and to help shape policies and strategies that benefit its member nations.

The consortium is being led by representatives from:

  • Defence Data Research Centre (DDRC) – Universities of Exeter, Liverpool, and Surrey
  • Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), University of Maryland College Park
  • Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Defence & Security Institute (DSI), University of Adelaide
  • Gordian Knot Center (GKC) for National Security Innovation, Stanford University
  • Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • University of South Australia

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific — who opened the inaugural Digital Disruption in Defence Research Consortium conference — welcomed the launch of the new group. “The UK is committed to accelerating collaboration on advanced military technologies, including through our landmark AUKUS partnership with Australia and the US, aimed at supporting security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” Trevelyan said. “Universities and industry play a critical role in defence R&D. We must join forces at every level across government, industry, and academia, with everyone playing their part to drive change at the pace required. This new consortium, spanning AUKUS nations, will support our joint efforts through world-class research capabilities.”

UniSA Director Defence & Space, Matt Opie, says AUKUS will transform the Australian defence sector. “South Australia is home to the nation’s premier naval ship and submarine activities, and as such, will play a key role in supporting the AUKUS strategic alliance,” Opie says. It’s fitting that UniSA is part of this global defence consortium, sharing our research and helping to shape defence policy.”

University of Adelaide’s Director of Defence and Security Institute, Professor Mike Webb, says the University is pleased to join the Digital Disruption in Defence Research Consortium. “The University of Adelaide has been collaborating closely with the UK’s Defence Data Research Centre and the University of Exeter to establish this new collaborative research program in high priority, AUKUS aligned, domains,” Prof Webb says. “This collaboration with partners in the UK and US will deliver substantial leverage to research programs in each jurisdiction that are already very strong.”

The consortium will share its findings with ally nations and collaborate on future research with interested academic bodies in all relevant areas, including cyber operations, supply chain, and other data developments crucial to the future of military success. The group intends to publish research on a quarterly basis and take on bespoke commissions from government counterparts. The initial research areas are:

  • A model of cyber influence
  • Future of decision-making in Defence
  • Global custody of assets and platforms
  • Resilience by design (supply chains)


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  1. On the subject of a lack of active Australian involvement in the design phase of the UK (and to some extent US) designed SSN-AUKUS:

    1. there has been already been some limited Australian involvement eg. Australia putting in a requirement for VLS (something the current UK Astute SSNs don’t have)


    2. the US Government, including Congress, has not yet permitted Australian access (eg. legal approvals) to the US transfer of technonolgy (ToT) going into SSN-AUKUS. Such technology includes the VLS, new UK reactor (heavily relying on US ToT) and the aspects of the upgraded Combat System that rely on the higher power output of a reactor (eg. more powerful active sonar and more powerful/higher energy use databases).


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