Victoria is the home of innovation, new technologies, research and development (R&D) and advanced manufacturing. In 2019, the Intelligent Community Forum ranked Melbourne as the third most innovative city in the world.
Victoria’s world-renowned research institutes and organisations are supported by a world-class tertiary education sector. Victoria produces the most graduates out of any Australian state in information technology, engineering and related technologies.
Victorian universities contribute 40 per cent – around $61 million – of Australia’s annual university defence research and development spend – more than any other state in the country. Many have also entered research and development partnerships with leading manufacturing companies including Boeing, Thales, Siemens and Lockheed Martin.
Deakin University is the first tertiary institution in Australia to host zone 4 classified, secret-rated defence research after signing a $5.13 million contract with the Australian Defence Force. As part of the program, researchers at Deakin, in partnership with technology companies Kellogg, Brown & Root and FLAIM, are developing an immersive training system for naval firefighting, combining virtual reality and augmented reality with artificial intelligence.
Melbourne’s strength in R&D was demonstrated by Lockheed Martin Corporation’s decision in 2016 to establish a $13 million advanced multi-disciplinary R&D centre in Melbourne – the Science Technology Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory or STELaRLab. This is the first such facility to be established by Lockheed Martin Corporation outside of the United States. Melbourne’s strong international reputation for R&D was a key factor in Lockheed Martin’s decision.
For further information on the capability of defence-relevant research across Victoria's university sector, see the 2022 Victorian & Tasmanian Defence Research Capability Directory
Victoria brings together the world’s best and brightest minds in defence R&D. With so many facilities in one state, Victoria is the nation’s hub for clever thinking and specialist defence knowledge.
The Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) is the second largest publicly-funded R&D organisation in Australia and has significant elements, particularly its Aerospace, Maritime and Land Divisions, based in Melbourne. The DST Group has strong capabilities in electronics, systems engineering, platform information systems, autonomous systems and other digital and electronic technology.
The Defence Science Institute (DSI) was established in 2010 and is jointly funded by the State Government of Victoria, DST Group, the University of Melbourne and other participating universities. The DSI’s work is broadly grouped under five themes: human protection and performance; propulsion and energy storage; simulation and modelling; surveillance and autonomy; cyber and IT security.
DMTC Limited is engaged in the development and supply of new materials technologies, electronic systems, advanced components and manufacturing processes in collaboration with defence, defence industries and research agencies.
The Australian Manufacturing and Materials Precinct (AMMP) is a hub for industry and research organisations. Based in south-east Melbourne, the AMMP is home to 40 per cent of Victoria’s manufacturing companies, as well as the CSIRO, Monash University and the Australian Synchrotron.
Chemical, biological and radiological defence is developed in Victoria, with R&D and countermeasure capabilities. Melbourne is one of only three international cities with two universities in the global top 20 biomedicine rankings. More than 40 per cent of ASX listed biotech and medical equipment companies are located in Victoria.
ICT and cyber expertise is fostered in Victoria, with a wide range of capabilities in cyber security, electronic surveillance and countermeasures, radar and sonar systems, communications systems and robotics.
Private sector companies undertake significant defence R&D in Victoria, including Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Thales, Siemens and BMT Design and Technology.
Victoria’s educational institutions, including Melbourne, Monash, La Trobe, Deakin, RMIT, Swinburne and Victoria Universities all have world-class research capabilities.