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@AVNHQ Business Bulletin, 23 February 2021

By Leo D’Angelo Fisher

Top stories:

Australia-UK partnerships tackle defence technology innovation Fran Murphy joins QinetiQ as GM Strategy ACS Australia takes on defence industry interns

Australia-UK partnerships tackle defence technology innovation

The Australian Government has awarded research funding to five Australian-led groups to develop technology that will accelerate the integration of advanced materials into military platforms.

The projects, part of a program run jointly by Australia and the United Kingdom, will be funded by Australia’s Next Generation Technologies Fund under the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence initiative.

Fourteen Australian academic and industry groups responded to the joint Australia-UK call for research programs aimed at applying innovative technologies to speed up advanced materials integration.

Advanced materials possess properties that are engineered to make them superior to conventional materials, including ceramics, high value-added metals, electronic materials and composites.

Five recipients will receive a total of $1.6 million in funding:

  • Western Sydney University, Imperial College London, Metrologi, University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Airbus Australia Pacific, awarded $348,204 to research the use of nanotechnology in more durable bonded joints.

  • QinetiQ Australia and RMIT University; awarded $349,317 to develop a modelling framework supporting the use of Multi-functional Shape Memory Alloy Tufted Composite Joints (MuST) technology.

  • UNSW, Imperial College London, Advanced Composite Structures Australia; awarded $349,946 to research the use of advanced materials in more effective armour.

  • RMIT University; awarded $330,500 to develop more effective metal-to-composite hybrid joints through the use of advanced materials.

  • University of Adelaide, Research Institute of Saint-Louis and the Materials Science Institute; awarded $209,510 to develop improved means of examining areas where adhesives have been used in aging military platforms.

Announcing the successful funding recipients, the Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said the joint academic-industry research partnerships are “vitally important” to the Australian and UK defence forces.

“Australia’s academics and small-business sector have a wealth of talent and innovative expertise and the Next Generation Technologies Fund program is designed to draw out the best ideas to support our Defence capability,” Price said.


Fran Murphy joins QinetiQ as GM Strategy

Defence engineering and design company QinetiQ Australia has appointed Fran Murphy as its new General Manager Strategy.

Murphy has extensive experience in the defence sector.

She was previously director of strategic development at Serco Asia Pacific. Murphy is also a former director or strategy and business development at BAE Systems Australia and national manager of defence services at Tenix Defence.

During a 10-year career as a BAE executive Murphy also held the positions of general manager of weapon systems and general manager of defence logistics.

Murphy is a 16-year Australian Defence Force veteran and was a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Transport.

Murphy replaces Lindsay Pears who is retiring in April. Pears will serve in a transitional support role until then.


ACS Australia takes on defence industry interns

Advanced Composite Structures Australia has welcomed two final-year engineering students as interns as part of the Defence Industry Internship Program.

Melbourne students Emma Vecoli and Michael Jurdana have joined ACS Australia for 12 weeks. They will work on defence projects while they complete their university education.

The Defence Industry Internship Program offers students a paid 12-week internship during which they will contribute to an engineering project.

The internship gives students the opportunity to gain experience on industry projects while utilising the latest technologies.

Emma Vecoli is completing a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Science (Applied Chemistry) at RMIT University.

Vecoli has a strong knowledge of composite materials having worked in laboratory support at research facility Carbon Nexus in the Victorian regional city of Geelong. She is currently working on novel thermoplastic adhesive technology used in composite structural bonding.

Michael Jurdana is completing a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Swinburne University, having finished his final year capstone project focusing on composite carbon fibre materials. He is working on high-temperature composites technology for defence application and Computer Numerical Control tooling design utilising additive manufacturing.

“The ACS Australia team are extremely knowledgeable while going above and beyond in providing me with support throughout my internship. It’s not often you’re given the opportunity to put your theoretical knowledge from prior studies into real-life industry projects,” Jurdana says.

“I’ve loved being able to follow projects from the design stage all the way up to manufacture and testing, it’s something that has helped me refine my technical skills.”

The Defence Industry Internship Program operates nationally and employs 70 interns each year at 38 participating SME engineering companies. Further information for students and businesses interested in participating in the program is available from


Leo D'Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News. Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher.

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