Susan Close MP
Deputy Premier
Minister for Defence and Space Industries

A new $4.6 million defence research and development funding scheme launches today, designed to speed up the translation of innovative defence technology into real world capability for the Australian Defence Force.

Administered by South Australia’s Defence Innovation Partnership, the Activator Fund will build on the state’s research and development strengths and the high priority innovation challenges identified by Defence.

The fund will support a more rapid transition of technology developments into operational Defence capabilities, which the Defence Strategic Review identified as a priority.

The first Activator project theme aligns with the undersea warfare and trusted autonomy priorities of the Defence Innovation, Science and Technology program.

Up to $1.6 million will be available from the fund for the initial ‘Remote Undersea Surveillance Data Processing, Analysis and Networking’ project, with successful applicants required to provide matching co-contributions that will support larger scale research and development activities.

Proposals will be sought from consortia led by South Australian universities and industry and involving Department of Defence partners, as well as other national and international partners.

A workshop will be held on Tuesday 20 June 2023 for interested parties to hear about the challenges, meet potential project partners and learn about the grant application and selection process.

Activator applications will open on 26 June 2023, with a closing date of 4 August 2023.

For more information and to register for the workshop, head to

Quotes attributable to Susan Close

South Australia has real research strengths in undersea sensors, undersea autonomy and machine learning. The Activator Fund will leverage those strengths to develop new technologies that will directly benefit our Defence Force.

As a nation we need to accelerate technology development towards future operational capabilities and the Activator Fund will enable this more rapid transition.

It will also create opportunities for greater investment from national and international R&D programs, spinoffs into local industry including dual use into non-defence sectors and enable local industry to supply into international defence and space programs.

Quotes attributable to Dr David Kershaw, Chief Science Strategic Planning and Engagement, DSTG

Australia’s Defence innovation, science and technology program is focused on delivering innovative Australian solutions to national security challenges.

The Activator Fund is a positive initiative. It aligns closely with Defence’s S&T Strategy, More, Together, and by developing partnerships across academia, industry and Defence, it will enable scale to focus on priority Defence challenges and deliver impact by developing transformative technologies.