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Australia’s DSTO Financially Autonomous (Aug. 17)

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has covered its annual budget for the last 13 years by exploiting just six of its innovative technologies, according to an independent report circulated at the Defence Industry Regional Briefing in Adelaide today.

Assistant Secretary Science Industry and External Relations, Mr Maurice Hermann said the Review of DSTO’s External Engagement and Contribution to Australia’s Wealth examined DSTO’s interactions with industry and assessed its impact on national wealth creation.

The review was carried out by Mr Robert Trenberth, a company director and former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science and Technology.

Mr Hermann said the Trenberth Review found that DSTO engages extensively and effectively with large and small companies and other research institutions to create new technically complex capabilities for Defence.

"The review shows that DSTO is making a substantial and broad contribution to the country’s wealth by improving Defence’s cost-effectiveness, and by commercialising its own intellectual property while its industry collaborations are an increasingly important part of Australia’s national innovation system."

Mr Hermann said that DSTO’s quantitative contribution to national wealth was demonstrated by six case studies of DSTO projects that were carried out by economics consultants ACIL Tasman.

"The economic benefits of these six projects alone have paid for DSTO’s cumulative budget since 1990."

The six projects were the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), the Australian mine sweeping system, composite technology for aircraft repairs, laser airborne depth sounder for coastal surveys, acoustic tiles for Collins submarines, and the NULKA anti-ship missile decoy.

Mr Hermann said the review also made some recommendations for improving DSTO’s external engagement - principally the formation of a Defence Science Access Network to increase science and technology exposure for industry.

"Negotiations with industry are well advanced on establishing this network," Mr Hermann said.

DSTO is also setting up a Technology Transfer Advisory Group to assist with its commercialisation projects. A panel of companies with skills in market research, intellectual property protection and technology commercialisation will be selected through competitive tendering to make up the Group.

Click here for unclassified excerpts of the Review, on the DSTO website (HTML format)

Review Finds DSTO Strong on Capability and Wealth Creation