Page 58 - Australian Defence Magazine - June 2018
P. 58

From humble roots a decade ago, DMTC is working far beyond it original remit. ADM Managing Editor Katherine Ziesing spoke with DMTC CEO Mark Hodge about their role as part of Defence’s growing innovation community.
Dr Mark Hodge
Graduated Monash University, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Graduated Monash University, PhD (Materials Engineering)
Lecturer, Victoria University
Director of Research, METSS Corp, Columbus, OH USA (US Defense R&D Contractor)
Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University
Manager, Commercialisation & Technology Networks, Victorian Government
Chief Executive Officer – AADI Ltd
Chief Executive Officer – DMTC Limited
ADM: You’ve been with the DMTC since it began in 2008. How has DMTC’s role changed over that time?
HODGE: When DMTC was established 2008 it was a group of industry and research sector organisations which responded to a solicitation with a specific group of proposed tasks in the air, land and sea domains. In this respect, our initial role was very, very firmly based around the materials and manufactur- ing technology fields.
As time has gone on, our program man- agement model and our approach to inno- vation and creation of defence industrial capability has evolved from that original remit. We’ve found that the structure that we’ve developed has naturally lent itself to a range of other activities outside that materi- als domain. For example, we have programs in the High-Altitude Sensor Systems domain and in Medical Countermeasures. We’ve also done some work for Defence on cross-sector analysis of specific technologies, for example, the steel sector as it pertains to the naval ship- building enterprise. With the Government’s announcement that it wants ships built out of Australian steel, we were asked to analyse what that really meant from a sovereign indus- trial capability and potential risk perspective.
We’ve done a similar piece of work in titanium, on CNC machining of tita- nium but also other traditional manufac- turing techniques and a number of the
emerging manufacturing processes like additive manufacturing.
So, DMTC’s role has evolved significantly to the point where Defence will now seek to utilise our engagement model and program management structure – and the collabora- tive business approach that we take – that enshrines the involvement of the research sector and the industrial sector. We’re being asked to apply that to a range of different prob- lems and themes. In this way we’ve proven to be more of an ongoing business partner for Defence rather than just somebody that’s been contracted to do a defined job.
ADM: With all the changes in policy that have happened over the last two years with the advent of the Innovation Hub, the Next Gen Tech Fund and the CDIC framework, how do you fit into that land- scape now?
HODGE: DMTC’s formal connection in the Defence innovation system is through the Innovation Hub. We have a range of relationships across Defence but we have an enabling relationship that is funded through the Defence Innovation Hub. That relation- ship leverages into several additional areas and, we think, strongly demonstrates what the Innovation Hub was established to do, to act as a point of engagement in the industrial innovation capability space.
To illustrate that, we are also actively engaged with the Next Gen Technology Fund where DST Group is leveraging our model to invest alongside some other part- ners in key areas of interest.
We also have active relationships with Force Design and different parts of CASG and the Services. So, in terms of where we engage with that innovation system, the for- mal link is with the Innovation Hub but if you examine it carefully, we interact with just about every element of the innovation system.
ADM: You mentioned some of those proj- ect themes before, such as medical coun- termeasures and high-altitude sensors. What does the DMTC program of work look like at the moment?
HODGE: We’re quite significantly engaged with the naval shipbuilding enterprise, doing a lot of work to look at some key industrial capabilities that that group in CASG see as being important as they roll out the various programs such as Sea 5000, Sea 1180 and so forth. As I said before, we have the medical countermeasures activity and that represents
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