Skip to content

Key Research Areas

The breadth of our research capabilities is enormous, with capabilities and expertise ranging across a broad range of disciplines.

The following list provides insight into our key areas of research and the associated centres and projects.

  • Photonics, advanced sensors and directed energy systems

    This research area encompasses research in materials science, chemistry, biology and physics and develops disruptive new tools for measurement. It includes one of the leading groups in advanced solid state laser research and precision laser sensing in Australasia.

    Areas of expertise: 

  • Visual systems

    This research area covers visual systems that include computer vision, insect vision and human vision systems.  The Australian Centre for Visual Technologies (ACVT) focuses on innovation and education in the application of advanced technologies to Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Graphics and Visualisation.  The Visual Physiology and Neurobotics Laboratory (VPNL) investigates visual processing from behavioural, computational and physiological levels, with a multidisciplinary team covering fields of neuroethology, neurobiology, psychology, computer vision and engineering.  The human vision system research focuses on how we use representations of visual space to plan and update these movements, and how these representations change with visual field loss and healthy ageing.

    Areas of expertise:

  • System execution modelling

    Large scale distributed defence systems have specific environmental considerations that must be taken into account in their design, for example restrictions on space, weight and power (SWaP), real-time performance constraints, and the need for long life spans. This research area explores the development of performance modelling, prediction and evaluation environments that support the modelling and analysis of the performance of distributed systems in relation to their environment.  The modelling environment developed has been used to model the Collins and explore options for future submarine combat system configurations.

    Areas of expertise:

  • Military communications and networking 

    This research area focuses on advanced defence communication and information networking engineering, research and development.  It provides a major independent source of network and system design and analysis expertise for the defence industry by linking academic research to defence industry capability needs.

    Areas of expertise:

  • Radar, electronic countermeasures and atmospheric physics

    This research area is concerned with sensing the world around us, processing the data gathered to extract useful information, and understanding, exploring and controlling the behaviour of diverse systems.  It focuses on areas that are strongly linked to applications in defence and security, environmental monitoring and commerce, pushing new boundaries in sensing technology including revolutionary new antenna materials.  A key countermeasures focus has been the development of approaches to GPS anti-jamming.  The atmospheric physics research area is interested in all aspects of the dynamics of the atmosphere and ionosphere from the ground up to altitudes near 100 km.  The research effort is devoted to the development and exploitation of new radar, optical and GPS techniques for remote sensing of the atmosphere..

    Areas of expertise: 

  • Military law and ethics

    This research area seeks to facilitate the emergence of a creative inter-disciplinary dialogue on contemporary challenges in the areas of military law, national security, international law, military justice, international relations and strategic policy. Particular attention is given to ethical and moral issues relating to the use of force and the dimension of national security and to gaining a better understanding how discourses of violence are both created and understood, and how they can be mitigated.

    Areas of expertise: 

  • Cyber security

    This research area is multi-disciplinary, covering many disciplines and perspectives.  These include network and computer security, human aspects and legal aspects of cyber security, biometrics, international relations, and research on the implications of of heightened surveillance, and data generation and retention, for privacy and democracy.

    Areas of expertise:

  • Maritime Engineering

    There are two main research areas covered under maritime engineering at the University of Adelaide.  There is the acoustics, vibration and control research that covers active noise and vibration control, kinematics, dynamics and control, ultrasound, vibration isolation, thermo-acoustics, underwater acoustics amongst many other aspects.  The second research area is in structures and materials and aims to bring together mechanical engineers, metallurgists, materials engineers, applied mathematicians, and physicists in the common pursuit of improving and evaluating structures, materials and processing technologies. This group concentrates on critical infrastructure such as pipelines, railways and pressure vessels, bio-materials, nano-structures, composites, coatings and advanced manufacturing processes.

    Areas of expertise:

  • Blast protection for civil structures

    This research area focuses on analysing, developing and maintaining structures that are better able to withstand extreme events, such as earthquakes and blasts, in order to protect human life.

    Areas of expertise:

  • Human performance

    While the University of Adelaide has a very wide array of research considering the human condition and human performance, two areas that have focused on defence and security applications are: research on the human vision system; and research on human vulnerability to social engineering, cyber phishing attacks and the like.  The human vision research focuses on how we use representations of visual space to plan and update these movements, and how these representations change with visual field loss and healthy ageing.  The human vulnerability research focuses on supporting organisations and management in information and cyber security.

    Areas of expertise:

  • Autonomous systems

    Research in autonomous systems at Adelaide is an emerging multi-disciplinary endeavor.  Research in robotics covers electro-mechanical systems, computer vision and machine learning.  It also includes the technical and legislative knowledge base concerning the use of unmanned aircraft, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), for a wide range of applications.

    Areas of expertise:

Defence & Security



T: +61 8 8313 0128