QDSA was honoured to host the Agile Command and Control (AC2) Science, Technology and Research (STaR) Shot Workshop on Thursday 4 August 2022 in Brisbane.
This first-of-its-kind workshop for QDSA saw Queensland researchers and local industry collaborate and pitch for a share of $600,000 in seed funding from Defence and the Queensland State Government with the goal to advance sovereign capability in AC2.
Below we recap the format of the day, the benefits to Queensland and, of course, the successful recipients of the funding and what’s next for them.
Landmark AC2 STaR Shot Workshop
QDSA Acting Director, Dr Jeremy Anderson, said it was exciting for Queensland to be able to run this pilot program with the Defence Science and Technology Group with the aim to expand nationally.
QDSA partnered with Dr Paul Gaertner, Leader of the Agile Command and Control STaR shot, and his team to create an interactive pitch forum where Queensland academia and industry could showcase their capability to address 5 research challenges in Agile Command and Control.
“Workshops like this one provide valuable opportunities for Queenslanders to build relationships with key decision makers in Defence” explained Dr Anderson.
“Our aim with events like this is to facilitate collaboration between academia and industry to solve problems of importance for Defence. We specifically structured the day so participants could hear about the requirements directly from the STaR shot leadership team, pitch ideas as teams and then receive notification at the end of the day which projects were being taken through to contract. We received a lot of feedback from our members about the overheads of applying for funding and we are trying to make it easier for them through workshops such as this” Dr Anderson said.
What is the AC2 STaR Shot?
AC2 Workshop Format
A series of five AC2-specific challenges had been supplied to interested parties in the lead up to the event enabling them to prepare their presentation.
The first point of business on the day was a briefing session by AC2 STaR Shot leaders followed by an interactive workshop and free time for groups to refine their pitches based on what they had heard in the morning.
QDSA was really pleased with the number of expressions of interest we received to pitch. This meant we needed to change the event schedule to allow smaller teams and individuals to deliver a 2-minute introduction at the start of the day and from this, three groups were shortlisted by the panel to present with the other teams already selected for the final pitches.
The selection panel consisted of:
- Dr Paul Gaertner, STaR Shot Leader, Agile Command and Control, Defence
- Mr Duncan Fletcher, AC2 STaR Shot, Defence
- Mr Jonathan Jordans, AC2 STaR Shot, Defence
- Col Ben McClennan, Commander Combat Training Centre, Defence
Final Pitch Teams
The final pitch teams were as follows:
- Team 1: The University of Queensland – led by Dr Abigail Koay
- Team 2: L3 Harris Communications Australia – led by Mr David Johnson
- Team 3: Griffith University – led by Dr Matthew Stainer
- Team 4: ARM Hub – led by Mr Tim Kelly
- Team 5: Queensland University of Technology – led by Prof Graham Kerr
- Team 6: Amalgamated team – led by Dr Gary Eves
- Team 7: Evolving Machine Intelligence – led by Dr Nigel Greenwood
- Team 8: The University of Queensland – led by Dr Richard O’Quinn
- Team 9: Pointerra – led by Mr Jay Thompson
AC2 Challenges & Pitch Themes
Responding to the five AC2 Challenges, the major themes of the pitches were:
- The use of AI in rapid decision-making in different battlefield environments
- Organisational solutions that considered effective human integration with differing technologies
- The integration of existing technological networks with existing capabilities
All the teams impressed the panellists with their innovative approaches to the AC2 Workshop Research Challenges.
In the end, three pitches were awarded a share in the $600,000.
Queensland AC2 Workshop Funding Recipients
The Queensland AC2 Workshop funding recipients were as follows:
- Dr Nigel Greenwood – Evolving Machine Intelligence – $225,000
(Dr Nigel Greenwood, Prof Allan Paull (UQ); Assoc. Prof Ingo Jahn (USQ); Mr. Andrew Davis (3 Dot Digital Pty Ltd); Mr Alex Muirhead (PhD student, UQ).
Panellists’ comments: The team’s solution was innovative and contained huge prospects of value as it addressed critical requirements that could evolve into a practical course of action.
- Dr Gary Eves – ASGUARD / CAE / Collab – $160,000
(Amalgamated team that was formed on the day included: Dr Gary Eves – CAE, Dr Beth Cardier – TAS DCRC Fellow, Prof Ted Goranson – Sirius Beta, as well as the following from Griffith University: Dr Ovidiu Noran, Dr Marde Helbig, Dr Francesco, and Adjunct Prof Glen Smith)
Panellists’ comments: Their visualisation was very relevant to STaR Shot Research Challenges.
- Dr Matthew Stainer – C5 Research/Collab – $215,000
(Team: Dr. Matthew Stainer, Dr Christine Boag-Hodgson, Prof Adam Findlay, Mr Mick Reilly, Mr Hunter Walkenhorst, Dr David Hyland-Wood, Mr David Lynch, Prof Ian Atkinson, Prof Rohan Walker, Ms Karen Murphy)
Panellists’ comments: The pitch showed great prospect to grow AC2’s science capabilities that are likely to generate relevant outcomes. They addressed critical requirements and demonstrated a good knowledge of existing gaps in Advanced Decision Making.
QDSA will be working with each of the successful teams to progress to contract with detail on specific deliverables, milestones, reporting and budget.
Overall, the event was very successful. Congratulations to the funding recipients and thank you to all the teams that participated.
For more information about the Agile Command and Control STaR Shot click here.
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
QDSA has many upcoming events and opportunities, with more being added each week. Want to find out what is on the horizon? Check out our News section on our website here or subscribe to our e-newsletter here.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.