Innovation Recognised In Defence


Increasing knowledge and a skilled workforce in high-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas are a key priority for Defence.

A Defence Science and Technology Group team has been recognised for its significant contributions towards addressing that priority – the ‘Navigate’ team was presented with a prestigious Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) Capability Award.

This award acknowledges the team’s ability to develop relationships and collaborations in the Defence innovation, science and technology ecosystem.

Navigate is pioneering approaches to creating a highly capable, diverse and integrated workforce of STEM specialists in Defence who can work across the national innovation ecosystem to deliver Defence capability.

The program is offered to mid-career STEM professionals and allows them to enter into the complex world of Defence science in a 12-month supported pathway.

Participants undertake two six-month placements in different technology areas within the Defence STEM ecosystem – including with academia and industry.

Assistant Director of Navigate Jessica Brophy, who is responsible for providing strategic oversight and delivery of the program, said a large part of her role was engaging with key stakeholders, managing those relationships and expectations, and planning for the future.

“Navigate is a program that keeps evolving. The recruitment and delivery of the program would not be possible without the ongoing support of the organisation,” she said.

“We are truly honoured to have received this award.”

Navigate is pioneering approaches to creating a highly capable, diverse and integrated workforce of STEM specialists in Defence …

A key aim of Navigate is to increase female representation in Defence STEM roles, particularly at more senior levels.

Women comprise of 48 per cent of the Australian working population, yet only 16 per cent are represented in the STEM workforce.

The Navigate pilot was launched in 2022 with pre-determined gender targets of 40 per cent female participation.

More than 800 applications were received for the pilot and about 70 positions were granted – with 43 per cent female.

Defence is committed to increasing diversity, especially in its STEM workforce, which led to the Assistant Minister for Defence announcing that female participation targets for women in all entry and mid-career STEM programs will move towards 50 per cent.

This year’s Navigate program, Navigate 2.0, received more than 900 applications and more than 50 per cent of the 35 STEM specialists in this cohort are female.

“A key goal for my team this year is ensuring that our Divisions are informed, engaged and aware of the intent of Navigate,” Ms Brophy said.

“I am excited to welcome our new cohort in May and take all of those lessons learnt from the first intake to enhance the delivery and design of the program.”

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