Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, the Group of Eight (Go8), are well placed to play a major role in the development of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine capability.
Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said the Go8 would engage with Government as a matter of priority to identify areas where Australia’s research and education expertise could be developed and leveraged to build future independent capacity and sovereign capability.
“Australia’s world class researchers are well placed to support AUKUS in this endeavour with outstanding expertise in the areas of cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies and undersea capabilities.
“This agreement demonstrates the confidence that our five eyes partners, the US and the UK, have in Australian capability.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Jo Biden highlighted the vital role of science and technology in this project, both areas in which Go8 universities have a demonstrated world class record.
“In addition, Go8 universities have significant defence capability and have built solid defence research partnerships, problem solving and advisory relationships around the world with governments and industry. We have been at the forefront of globally defining defence and security technology and systems advances for many decades.
“In 2018, Go8 universities collectively spent $68 million or 1.1 per cent of their total R&D investment on defence. This equated to almost half of the total R&D expenditure on defence by the higher education sector.
“Further, our universities are committed to upskilling and training the next generation workforce to meet the demands of industry and we will continue to work with government to deliver the skilled graduates required to support our nation’s security interests.
“Australia’s research-intensive universities are at the forefront of research, innovation and technology. Each and every day our researchers, scientists and innovators tackle the big challenges that make our nation stronger, improve the lives of every Australian and secure our nation’s future,” said Ms Thomson.