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Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited

The Aerospace Maritime Defence and Security Foundation of Australia Limited (AMDSFA) has presented its Innovation Awards at each of its major events since Avalon 2013. In the intervening six year the prestige of the Awards has grown, and the competition to win them has grown with it. The Avalon 2019 Innovation Awards saw a record 72 entries from 34 separate entrants.

As of April 2019, AMDSFA has presented $350,000-worth of SME Innovation Grants and Young Innovator Awards, as well as the highly sought-after National Innovation Awards trophies.

These Awards are still unique in Australia. They are still the only ones to recognise and reward innovation by Australian individuals and organisations in products, services and business processes in the fields in which we operate. They are a visible expression of AMDSFA’s altruistic purpose: to promote the development of Australian operational and industry capability and capacity in the fields of aviation, aerospace, maritime, security and defence.


Simple: at a time when Defence demand for high-technology equipment and services was starting to grow, we knew that individual Australians and Australian companies and research organisations were developing the capabilities that would help transform the Australian Defence Force as well as Australian industry in both the defence sector and the wider civil aviation, aerospace, maritime and security sectors. In that sense, we pre-dated the 2015 National Innovation Statement and the 2016 Defence White paper which, for the first time, enshrined Australia’s defence industry as a Fundamental Input to Defence Capability and called for greater innovation and a much stronger focus on developing our national defence, naval and aerospace industries.


We’ve achieved a great deal: importantly, we’ve encouraged companies, research teams and individuals to reach out to a much wider audience and promote themselves nationally and globally. There is a great deal of unrecognised, even latent, innovation talent and achievement in Australia and we’ve been determined to help bring this into the light.

Most of the companies that have won Innovation Awards, or who have been shortlisted for them, have gone on to great things. That’s a reflection of our focus on relevance in the eligibility and judging criteria.

Between them, they have saved money, created flourishing new businesses or enhanced operational capability. We’re proud to be able to recognise and reward the Australian companies and individuals who’ve often been world leaders in tackling the technology and operational challenges we all face, from ground level to outer space.


If you want to know how just some of our Innovation Award winners and highly commended entrants have made a difference to Australia’s defence capabilities, follow the link above. Our winners tell a compelling story!

But to give you a short taste of what Australians have achieved, consider this series of snapshots: the Defence Materials Technology Centre has facilitated research by, among other Mr Jimmy Toton, that has helped to significantly reduce the cost of machining titanium components in Australia for the Joint Strike Fighter program. (Avalon 2015 Defence SME Innovation Grant; Avalon 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award).

Ms Vanessa Claire Lussini from the University of Queensland has enhanced flight safety through her ground-breaking work on detecting and treating airframe corrosion in aircraft, driving a reduction in maintenance costs. (Avalon 2015 Young defence Innovator Award).

Sentient Vision Systems from Melbourne developed the Kestrel Imagery Analysis System which has been adopted by the ADF for airborne surveillance operations across the globe. (Pacific 2015 Civil SME Innovation Grant).

And a Perth company called One Atmosphere Limited reacted to a tragic ADF helicopter accident by developing its Pegasus Aircraft Buoyancy System which can bolt on to a helicopter or light aircraft, providing emergency buoyancy if the aircraft crashes or ditches at sea, potentially saving countless number of lives. (Pacific 2015 National Defence Innovation Award).


Our eligibility and judging criteria are deliberately kept simple: we’re looking for Australian companies who have developed Australian innovations in Australia. A pre-condition for entry is either commercial success (they built something and sold it) or commercial potential (it’s market ready and they’ve got a plan for taking it to the market); the other judging criteria are also deliberately simple: the innovation must demonstrate an understanding of user needs, and it must demonstrate innovativeness and creativity.

The panel of Judges also has the power not to recommend an Award in a specific category if in their opinion no entries were judged to be good enough to deserve the Award. The Judges have used this power on a number of occasions, demonstrating the rigour and integrity of the Judging process.


The panel of Judges is Chaired by Dr Bill Schofield AM, a former Deputy Chief Defence Scientist and contains a mix of defence and industry specialists from multiple technology domains who carry out their Judging duties on a pro bono basis.

  • Dr Bill Schofield AM, former Deputy Chief Defence Scientist
  • Dr Jennie Clothier, founding Director of the National Security Science & Technology centre
  • Dr Reece Clothier, President Australian Association for Unmanned Systems
  • Brigadier (retired) Steve Dunn, former Director General Land Development
  • Mr John O'Callaghan, the former Executive Officer of Australian Industry Group’s Defence Council
  • Mr Tony Quick, former Director of the Defence Industry Innovation Centre
  • Dr Dev Ranmuthugala, Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Ian Sare, former Deputy Chief Defence Scientist
  • And the convenor of the Awards program, Dr Gregor Ferguson of the Aerospace Maritime Defence and Security Foundation of Australia Limited

For further information contact:
Gregor Ferguson
Executive Manager, Industry Development
Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited
PO Box 4095

Ph: 0414 803 717