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A HIFiRE4 hypersonic test, with the rocket launching into the night sky.

Defence and national security

Partnering to enhance Australia’s defence and national security through sovereign capability and national resilience imperatives.

Our shared vision

Ensuring Australia’s defence and national security through sovereign manufacturing and capability advancement requires a collective partnership across government, university and industry. These partnerships are essential for ensuring Australia has the right capabilities to meet current and future strategic challenges.

As Queensland’s largest and most comprehensive university, UQ is well-placed to contribute our science and technological innovation, advanced testing infrastructure and knowledge leadership to achieve the priorities outlined in the Defence Strategic Review.

We have enduring defence and national security partnerships – with DISP membership and secure facilities, we've partnered with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) for more than 3 decades and are expanding collaborations across a broad range of disciplinary areas.

Graphic of a satellite orbiting Earth, with Australia visible in the background.

What we offer

Partnering with us provides access to the following benefits.

Alignment with critical technology priorities

Our research capabilities align with the technology priorities of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) and AUKUS Pillar II.

Human-centred capability

Working alongside advances in technology, we understand that human agency is critical to defence and national security capability.

Defence-ready ecosystem

We offer secure facilities such as the DISP Level 2 (Zone 4) Facility, with secure conference room – as well as world-class research infrastructure and testing facilities.

Our capabilities

We have a proven track record in delivering transformative outcomes and solutions for our government and industry partners, underpinned by world-leading expertise.

Computer banks and a meeting room at UQ Cyber Hub.

Support for critical technology priorities

Our research capabilities align with the technology priorities of the Australian Government and its allies and partners. We offer expertise in:

  • hypersonics and counter-hypersonics – high speed vehicle science, high temperature materials, space propulsion and planetary re-entry
  • quantum technologies – deployable sensors, secure and resilient space communications, quantum biotechnologies for human-machine teaming, health and performance
  • trusted autonomy – legal, ethical and social implications of autonomous systems
  • advanced cyber – cutting edge research, cyber war gaming, device testing
  • Artificial Intelligence – human-centred AI, data management and data science, computer vision and multimedia computation, machine learning and data mining, optimisation and statistics
  • undersea capabilities – neurocognition and perceptual decision-making for submariners.
A man's face illuminated by patterns of light.

Human sciences

Our expertise in human sciences includes:

  • management and leadership
  • cyber security policy and governance
  • ethics and law of trusted autonomous systems
  • responsible automated decision-making
  • digital humanities
  • law and the future of war
  • strategic studies
  • international relations, focused on Southeast Asia and the South West Pacific
  • online behavioural psychology.
UQ researchers test a piece of walking equipment in a robotics laboratory

Defence health and human performance

ADF capability, including preparedness and sustainment, is not only about networked platforms and systems. It also rests on the health and optimal performance of defence personnel.

We can measure and monitor the health of the force, through expertise in:

  • human cognition and neuroscience
  • medical countermeasures
  • mental health, stress and fatigue
  • tropical and infectious diseases
  • military medicine and surgery
  • treatment of battlefield trauma
  • musculoskeletal injuries
  • AI and digital health.
UQ students with laptops and notebooks in conversation with a man in a suit

Defence and national security workforce

We help to ensure the future defence and national security workforce has the right skills to meet the contemporary challenges and opportunities, through:

  • UQ Employer Connect, which connects industry partners with our emerging talent
  • yearly Employability Week and Careers Expo where industry partners with us
  • targeted emails to students in specific disciplines and cohorts, identifying opportunities our employers are looking to promote
  • a range of networking events throughout the year where industry can participate in panel discussions around career development
  • working with industry to co-design and co-deliver events and programs to help our industry partners identify prospective talent (e.g. Bootcamp to Recruit).

Partner with us

Keen to know more or have an idea for a partnership? Contact our industry specialist. 

Dr Greta Nabbs-Keller
Associate Director (Defence, Space and National Security)
Strategic Partnerships - Government and Industry

The BoLT II rocket launching from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

Facilities and infrastructure

Our world-class research and testing facilities include hypersonics and high-temperature materials essential to hypersonic flight and spacecraft, such as:

  • T4 Stalker Tube: free-piston driven shock tunnel
  • X2: free-piston driven next generation super-orbital expansion tube
  • X3: free-piston driven large super-orbital expansion tube
  • X3R: free-piston reflected shock tunnel (based at Eagle Farm)
  • Drummond Tube/Tunnel: small shock tunnel
  • Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis
  • Anechoic chamber
  • manufacturing facilities for additive manufacture of metals, including high-entropy alloys and manufacture of ceramic matrix composites up to 2800C
  • equipment for large scale testing and in-depth material characterisation.

Who we work with


  • Australian Defence Force
  • BAE Systems
  • Black Sky Aerospace
  • Boeing Defence Australia
  • Defence Science and Technology (DTSG)
  • Defence Materials Technology Centre
  • Gilmour Space
  • Hypersonix Launch Systems
  • Joint Health Command
  • Lockheed Martin Australia
  • MBDA
  • Stryder Defence
  • Thales Australia
  • Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC.


We have established links with Australia's allies and partners in defence research, including: 

  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) project
  • NASA
  • University Consortium of Applied Hypersonics (UCAH)
  • US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
  • US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
  • US Devcom Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
  • US Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • MBDA Systems
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Research stories

See our research in action, learn more about ongoing projects and read our success stories.

Rows of bookshelves and book spines in close up

Ursula Project

The Ursula Project is collaboration between UQ and the Australian Department of Defence, Science and Technology, aiming to adapt the storytelling techniques of science fiction media to discover how they can be used to help teams of experts solve complex problems.
UQ expert works with a partner to discuss equations written on glass overlooking a workshop

A new era of hypersonics testing

Learn more about the UQ partnership which enabled our researchers to launch the Boundary Layer Turbulence Flight Experience (BoLT II) rocket and the data collected around boundary layer transition, turbulent heating and drag at hypersonic speed.
Defence jet taking off

Is Queensland defence smart?

An expert panel discuss the next generation of defence capabilities, including artificial intelligence, hypersonics, and quantum technologies.