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Defence Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (Icera) Initiative

Thank you to all applicants for your proposals for the Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (iCERA) initiative. We have received a large number of strong applications and the tender evaluation team is still operating through the evaluation process. We will contact you as soon as the decision is made. The Australian government has recently increased its investment in the defence industry in order to accelerate the economic recovery from Covid-19. Late last year, the Commonwealth released a Request For Information (RFI) to understand the capability and maturity of the sovereign industry that is available to support the implementation of the electronic maritime warfare modernization program. Although the RFI had a good response, the response criteria may have excluded some organizations with expertise in this area from participating in RFI. In particular, SMEs without an existing security authorisation and publicly funded research institutes, which also do not have such accreditation or who otherwise believe that the scope of the technology is not in their field. The Government continues to focus its long-term efforts on establishing a robust, resilient and internationally competitive defence industrial base. As part of this commitment, they provided information on subsidies and innovation promotion, export support and our 2020-21 budget measures. Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said ICERA is funded by the Next Generation Technologies Defence Fund (NGTF), which focuses on research and development of new and future technologies. „Our small business sector is playing a more important role than ever in contributing to defence science and technology research priorities, which support ADF skills needs.

The first cycle of the ICERA initiative aims to fund projects contributing to the improvement of cyber defence and cybersecurity. Incubator Support – Expert-in-Residence offers grants of up to $100,000 to incubators to gain access to top-notch research, management and technical talent through the entry and exit of national or international experts. This expertise aims to increase the capacities of incubators and improve the chances of commercial success for start-ups in international markets. The NGTF is delivering a total of $36 million over one year, focused on nine key priorities of the 2016 Defence White Paper, including integrated information, surveillance and education, space capabilities and cyber defence. Over the next ten years, the Commonwealth Government is investing $270 billion in Australia`s defence capability to build a stronger defence industry. Price said the small business sector plays an important role in supporting defense science and technology research priorities, which support ADF skills needs. The first axis of the ICERA initiative will focus on cyber defence and cybersecurity, while subsequent cycles will focus on a number of other priority areas, including integrated intelligence surveillance and information, medical counter-measures, space and autonomous trust systems. Successful projects may be considered for other funding or opportunities through other means and mechanisms. „Australia`s strategic context is changing significantly and our defence strategy is responding to these changes,” said Minister Price. Electronic warfare covers a wide range of R&D areas and, as such, the Commonwealth has an interest in exploring and connecting with other people who, at present, may not meet the criteria for participation of the original RFI. .

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