The Department of Defence has put the call out to Australia’s scientists and researchers to bowl-up a series of research projects aimed at improving its understanding of cyber technologies.
The Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group has started accepting proposals for its cyber research program to tap into potential benefits and limitations of cyber technologies.
The callout comes as universities across Australia battle Defence's ambitions to be able to dictate what technology research and development is considered national security sensitive under a review of miltech export control laws.
The program is aimed at understanding how Defence can use "cyber technologies, create prototype systems, and demonstrate the practical applications of systems to Defence problems".
It's seeking proposals from industry and universities for a series of "priority projects" for an initial 12 month period, with up to $650,000 provided through the Next Generation Technologies Fund.
A number of projects have been identified, including trustworthy machine learning, resilient cyber systems, detecting human vulnerabilities towards cyber threats via trust analytics, privacy-preserving distributed edge computing, and cyber-enabled information warfare.
Funding will be tied to "agreed deliverables and milestones" and future funding will be provided if the project is “promising”.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the government was encouraging the development of cyber capabilities to respond to malicious cyber activity.
"Malicious cyber activity costs Australian business and families over $1 billion every year, and malicious cyber activity from state and non-state actors is a threat to Australia’s national security," he said.
"The government encourages Australia’s scientists and researchers to contribute to the development of cyber capabilities, which is a priority for national security.
"We want academia and industry to collaborate with Defence Science and Technology, and CSIRO’s digital research network, Data61, to deliver technology developments and demonstrator systems within three to five years.
"It is critical that Australia develops a sovereign capability to protect our nation."
Applications for the program will close Wednesday 15 August.