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Australia's DoD Calls for Industry Participation

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Bruce Billson, today has issued an invitation to Australian industry to apply to join an innovative Defence program designed to enhance the capabilities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The Rapid Prototyping Development and Evaluation Program (RPDE) is a new collaboration between Defence, industry and academia. In September last year Mr Billson announced funding of up to $60 million over the next three years to support it. Already, the program has enlisted the support of 83 industry and academic bodies.

Minister Billson said the Rapid Program aims to harness the innovative talents of the industry, defence and academic participants in order to rapidly develop solutions to pressing issues of operational capability for the Australian Defence Force. There is a particular focus on network centric warfare.

“Participants in Rapid work in a collaborative environment, where commercial interests are put aside to find the best workable solutions to Defence capability issues,” Mr Billson said.

“In most cases the solution is innovative and has a real impact on operational effectiveness. Research, analysis and experimentation is used to explore and propose options to solve problems identified by the ADF,” he said.

“It provides the opportunity for the best and brightest people in industry and academia to understand Defence’s operational needs and to contribute to enhancing the ADF’s capability.”

Mr Billson said that industry and academic members of Rapid can reap a range of benefits including:

- unprecedented possibilities to contribute to the Capability Development aspect of the Defence portfolio;
- opportunities to showcase intellectual property to both Defence and industry;
- better understanding of Defence business needs;
- opportunities to develop industry linkages and to form partnerships to attract Defence business; and
- people development opportunities.

“It is not just companies with a primary focus on Defence that have joined Rapid,” Mr Billson said.

“Training providers and even virtual gaming software developers are making valuable contributions, because they can bring a fresh perspective or unique skills to solving problems.”

A key criterion for joining Rapid is that an organisation must be able to demonstrate that they invest in research and development in Australia.

An Invitation To Participate in RPDE was advertised in The Weekend Australian newspaper on Saturday 13 January 2007. Further details are available on the Rapid website www.rpde.org.au.

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Industry and Academia Invited to Assist the Enhancement of ADF Capability