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Human Performance Research network (HPRnet) 2019 Call for Study Proposals


DST and its military stakeholders are seeking to extend and expand the Human Performance Research network (HPRnet), an enduring network of leading research teams partnered in the advancement of human performance of direct relevance to the military context.


The performance of its people and their ability to adapt and prevail in future operational scenarios is a critical factor in building and sustaining the ADF’s capability edge. The associated priorities for research and development (R&D) are set out in the research questions set out in Annex A of this document. HPRnet was established in 2016 through Army funding to help to address its top Human Performance research requirements and is currently supporting four year studies being conducted by seven universities from across Australia. With the funding for these studies concluding in 2020, this next round funding will support further enhancements to ADF capability and ensure the continuity of HPRnet as a community of researchers focused on delivering Human Performance outcomes for the ADF. 


Enhanced Human Performance is one of the key S&T themes identified in the Defence White Paper 2016. As a consequence, funding for this extension of HPRnet has been allocated from the Next Generation Technologies Fund. Human Performance is a priority for our international partners and we are pleased to announce that plans are in place to expand this investment through a co-contribution from the US Office of Naval Research (ONR). As a result, it is expected that around ten new HPRnet studies will be selected for funding of up to four years each.[1]

Partnership Opportunity

DST is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) for innovative proposals of future focussed research that can meaningfully address one or more of the ADF’s Human Performance priorities (see Annex A).[2] The invitation to submit against the EOI is limited to Australian Universities who are signatories of the Defence Science Partnering (DSP) Deed.

Based on a potential investment of up to $500k per study, proposers will be asked to detail:

  • How funds would be allocated (PhD, Post Doc, Undergraduate, capital, consumables, etc.) in order to deliver the study's ADF’s focused outcomes.
  • A commitment to build true partnership through the appointment of an academic chair (0.1FTE) to the HPRnet and the investment of university resources to maximise outcomes for Defence. 

Cross-university discussion and alignment of study proposals will be viewed positively where a systematic case is made.

How to apply

Applications closed on 15 March 2019.

Submissions will be assessed and down selected by an expert panel from DST and its military stakeholders. Applications will be assessed against the “NICER” criteria, defined below:

  • Necessary: unlikely to be undertaken without Defence investment
  • Invested: involves meaningful co-investment
  • Connected: evidence of an openness to working with Defence and the broader HPRnet
  • Excellent: involves researchers with an excellent track record of delivering high quality research
  • Relevant: clearly mapped to stated research priorities

Due to the number of applications, DST will be unable to provide feedback for unsuccessful first round EOIs.

DST will implement a secondary down selection process to identify the strongest applications for progression to formalised agreements. The secondary process will involve the following:

  • 6-8 page expanded proposal and research plan document
  • Site visit/discussions

Essential Requirements:

  • Demonstrated capability and experience in the nominated question(s) from the ADF’s Human Performance priorities, including design and ethics, data collection, analysis, interpretation and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Provision of a suitable qualified academic chair (0.1 FTE) to participate in the HPRnet panel.
  • Ability to attract suitability qualified research personnel and thereby rapidly stand-up the capability.
  • Signatory of the Defence Science Partnering Deed.

Desirable Requirements:

DST is interested in fostering and building a true partnership with appropriate Universities. As such, the following would be looked upon favourably when assessing EOI submissions:

  • Provision of appropriate students and scholarship/s in areas of mutual interest to augment the research program.
  • Competitive co-funding proposals for academic support to the programme.

Engagement model:

  • Separate scheduled agreements under the Defence Science Partnering Deed.
  • For costing of in-kind support and for determining levels of funding required apply Research Rate 2.

 Annex A

The ADF’s Research and Development Requirement Questions

The ADF’s Human Performance requirements have been based on a comprehensive framework. The framework sets out four interconnected research “streams” [Body/Mind/Tools/Group]. Defence seeks to focus the scientific experts within the disciplines associated with these broad streams on delivering research outcomes that would have application at specific stages of the operational lifecycle of Defence personnel [Prepare/Perform/Recover]. The HPRnet is focussed on the research questions related to the Prepare and Perform elements of the operational lifecycle as listed below.

Cognitively Prepared (CP)  [How can the ADF… ]

CP1 - Select and prepare individuals to make effective decisions in challenging operational conditions?

CP2 - Select and prepare adaptive and resilient individuals to perform effectively in challenging operational conditions?

CP3 - Prepare teams to operate effectively in challenging operational conditions?

CP4 - Deliver effective, affordable, training and feedback tailored to the learning opportunities of individuals within teams?

CP5 - Achieve tailored training outcomes through the application of immersive technology and tools?

CP6 - Make use of synthetic teammates to reduce the size of the personnel footprint required for effective collective training?

Cognitively Augmented (CA)

CA1 - Exploit emerging information systems to reduce cognitive burden and enhance performance in challenging operational conditions?

CA2 - Mitigate the performance decrements  of personnel on sustained operations?

CA3 - Exploit wearable technologies to enhance and track cognitive performance and behaviours?

CA4 - Team personnel with autonomous systems  to increase combat effectiveness?

CA5 - Enhance cognitive performance through nutrition and supplementation?

CA6 - Make sense from complex information from multiple sources of variable reliability to inform military decision making?

CA7 - Increase the capacity for accurate and timely decision making by distributing the load across and team and software agents?

CA8 - Overcome battlefield deception and uncertainty and apply them for military advantage?

Physically Prepared (PP)

PP1 - Select and prepare personnel to be physically resilient for roles conducted in challenging operational conditions?

PP2 - Exploit emerging methods to optimise the physical performance in challenging operational conditions?

PP3 - Optimise nutrition and feeding systems to enhance performance in challenging operational conditions?

Physically Augmented (PA)

PA1 - Reduce the physical burden on combatants through emerging technologies?

PA2 - Continually develop and improve platforms, individual equipment & clothing to survive and thrive on operations?

PA3 - Exploit wearable systems to enhance and monitor physical performance?

PA4 - Exploit emerging food and drug technologies for the enhancement of physical performance and resilience?

PA5 - Exploit emerging bio-enhancement technologies for the optimisation of physical performance and resilience?


[1] In addition, a smaller amount has been allocated over this period to address a rolling set of 1-2 year studies targeted at more specific outcomes. A separate process will be followed to seek proposals from teams know to HPRnet to be experts in the associated fields of research.

[2] HPRnet provides a mechanism for setting up studies funded directly by military stakeholders. DST anticipate putting out a more specific call for proposals on the topic of Wearable Assistive Technologies for Physical Performance early in 2019. Universities considering the submission of a HPRnet study proposal on this topic should contact to learn more.

Key information

Further information

Applications are now closed.

Attached files