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RMIT, WSU win shares in ONR Global-X Challenge award

The International Global-X Challenge, launched in April this year by the US’s Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global), has selected four winning projects that will demonstrate revolutionary capabilities for the US Navy, Marine Corps, commercial marketplace and the public. Two of the four winning teams are from RMIT in Melbourne and Western Sydney University (WSU).

The awards, totalling over US$1.1 million, fall under two challenge areas. Under the challenge topic “Multifunctional Maritime Films for Persistent and Survivable Platforms and Warfighters,” Dr. Nick Aldred, University of Essex, and his team will demonstrate a sample biofilm that will resist biofouling with the goal of eventually replacing traditional hull coatings.

The concepts of the remaining three winning teams address the challenge topic “Object Detection and Identification in any Medium.” Dr. Brant Gibson, RMIT University, and his team will demonstrate a robust, quantum-limited diamond-fibre magnetometer that may achieve nanotesla sensitivity for long-term, wide area maritime surveillance.

At the same time, Professor Gregory Cohen and his team from WSU will demonstrate neuromorphic event-based sensors that can quickly detect submerged vehicles and objects and enable celestial navigation without breaking the water surface.

Finally, Dr. Teuta Pilizota, University of Edinburgh, and her team will explore whether a self-sustained electrical bio-chip can detect flow and small traces of chemicals.

The selected international teams of researchers will have nine months to demonstrate that their concepts successfully meet objectives. Following successful concept demonstration by the four winning teams in June 2021, ONR Global may support an additional nine months of research, while transition partners prepare to implement technology maturation for insertion into the fleet.

The Global-X Challenge is designed to discover, disrupt and ultimately provide a catalyst for development and delivery of new capabilities. After evaluating 11 full proposals chosen from 385 white papers from 33 different countries, ONR Global selected four teams, with members from Australia, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

More information can be found on the Global-X website:

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