Clarification of the University’s relationship with Lockheed Martin

Based on interest from the university community, the following clarification was issued on 19 December 2023.

University of Melbourne researchers and students participate in research projects with the Commonwealth Government’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group and defence industry partners, including Lockheed Martin Australia’s Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaRLab), to develop sovereign technologies critical to Australia’s national interests.

STELaRLab was established and is wholly owned by Lockheed Martin. It is completely independent of the University of Melbourne and it is not located on campus.

Claims that the University of Melbourne has a $13m partnership with Lockheed Martin are incorrect. There has never been a $13m agreement between the University of Melbourne and Lockheed Martin. This figure refers to Lockheed Martin’s own investment in establishing STELaRLab in 2016.

Since 2016, the University of Melbourne has received $3.5m in funding from Lockheed Martin Australia to support PhD scholarships and research projects in areas such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, resource allocation and optimisation, and quantum sensing. Student projects have been in areas such as powerline safety monitoring and simplified drone control for first responders (i.e. fire-fighting).

Research at the University is subject to Australian law. It is compliant with and approved under the relevant research ethics and integrity codes and is reviewed by the Research Due Diligence Advisory Group as appropriate.

Please note the article below is more than 7 years old.

University welcomes Lockheed Martin to Melbourne

The University of Melbourne has welcomed the arrival of Lockheed Martin’s new STELaRLab (Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership & Research Laboratory) to Melbourne, to be located off-campus, proximal to the University’s engineering and science innovation precinct.

The collaboration between Lockheed Martin and the University was coordinated through the Defence Science Institute, which was established in 2010 to facilitate the growth of defence science research networks between Victorian universities, government and defence industry.

It marks the first time Lockheed Martin has opened a research centre outside of the United States and has been underpinned by an initial investment of $13 million by Lockheed Martin.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor James McCluskey said the University’s collaboration with Lockheed Martin was strategically important.

“The University has made no secret of its desire to both deepen and broaden its engagement with industry to have high impact and work together to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.”

“Our focus on impact through deep expertise and research excellence, places us in an ideal position to assist Lockheed Martin with their research goals.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the University was well placed to support the centre. “Melbourne is the third largest education city in the world, as well as being home to one of the world’s leading specialist R&D hubs in science, technology and medicine.”

“We look forward to working collaboratively with Lockheed Martin, the Defence Science Institute and other universities around Australia to ensure the centre’s success,” concluded Professor Davis.

The University already has ongoing research relationships with Lockheed Martin, including Professor Peter Rayner’s ARC linkage project on CO2 monitoring, and work by Professors Stan Skafidas and Rob Evans on exceeding the Chu limit for radar.

The centre is expected to grow rapidly over its first ten years, with its researchers to be co-located with universities around the country. The centre will provide PhD scholarships and internships, while directly funding research projects and co-authoring applications in the future.

Initial research areas are expected to focus on basic research, covering fields such as hypersonics, robotics, artificial intelligence, sensors and communications.

Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering Professor Iven Mareels said both Lockheed Martin and the Faculty shared similar aspirations. “With over three hundred academic and research staff and 750 PhD students, the School is committed to excellence in collaborative research and development, and the Lockheed

Martin centre will provide a range of new opportunities on this front.

“We’re looking forward to joining with Lockheed Martin to pursue training opportunities in systems engineering in support of the significant defence effort presently underway in Australia.”

“The School’s Building Future Engineering and IT Leaders strategy is currently the largest investment in R&D excellence in Australia, with the University committing $750 million to double the size of the Faculty and student body over the next ten years, driving increased engagement and collaboration with our industry partners."

“We welcome Lockheed Martin to the precinct and look forward to the future collaborations their presence will allow for.”