Cyber Cooperation Program Open Grants process

Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership (AICCTP): Research Grants Program

Projects funded under Round 1 of the program and future opportunities to bid for funding

On 21 April 2021, Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced the successful projects in Round 1 of the Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership (AICCTP).

Australia and India, with our technical expertise and engaged user base, are key players in the global development of critical and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), next generation telecommunications (5G/6G), Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, synthetic biology, blockchain and big data.

The grants program exists to enhance practical cooperation and collaboration between our two countries on cyber and critical technology issues, which will help shape a global technology environment that meets Australia and India’s shared vision of an open, free, rules-based Indo-Pacific region.

Grant Round 1 prioritised proposals that focused on strengthening understanding of ethical frameworks and developing best practice on translating them into practical action and encouraging the development of technical standards on critical technologies.

Three projects were awarded funding in the first round:

  • The Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney and the Observer Research Foundation, to develop ethical frameworks and best practices for emerging quantum technologies;
  • La Trobe University and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, to operationalise ethical frameworks in the critical technology supply chains of global companies; and
  • The School of Computer Science at the University of Sydney, in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Reliance Jio and the University of New South Wales, to address privacy and security challenges in next generation telecommunications networks.

The second round of the grants program will open for applications mid-year. Further details will be published on the DFAT website in due course.

Quantum Meta-Ethics: A Project to Develop Normative Frameworks, Best Practices and Effective Accords for Emerging Quantum Technologies

Ground breaking research, regulatory frameworks and a transnational effort are needed to keep apace of accelerating quantum innovations. The project unites academics, business, government, legal and policy experts, to develop world-first quantum accords to inform international governance of quantum technologies. QM-E builds guiding principles on ethics, best practices and progressive applications of quantum technologies. Rather than proposing a formal set of universal rules, the project seeks consensus among key stakeholders on what constitutes ethical or unethical behaviour, good or bad practices, productive or destructive applications for emerging quantum technologies, and promotes Australia’s and India’s shared vision for a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. Groundbreaking research, regulatory frameworks and a transnational effort are needed to keep apace of accelerating quantum innovations.

An initiative of the Centre for International Security Studies (CISS) at the University of Sydney. Led by CISS Director Professor James Der Derian, and with the support of Research Associate Jayson Waters, the project is a partnership with Dr Rajeshwari Rajagopalan of the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation (ORF), under the direction of Dr Rajeshwari Rajagopalan and with the support of Trisha Ray, Vikas Kathuria and Jayson Waters. The team features leading experts from the Indo-Pacific region, including: quantum physicist Shohini Ghose, global strategy advisor Parag Khanna, and political scientist Nisha Shah.

Operationalising ethical frameworks in critical tech industries 

The project intends to provide Australian and India business with improved ethical policy and practice when outsourcing their technology to Indian providers. It will do by improving the understanding of how they translate being signatories of Ethical Codes to their actual practice. Moreover, the project will analyse the emotions and views of stakeholders expressed in social media on the ethical issues found to be important in business surveys. In doing so, the project intends to advance the body of knowledge in artificial intelligence and cyber and critical technology, ethics and sustainability and risk by bringing together disciplines in business management and ethics, computer science and engineering, and AI and business analytics. 

The outcomes expected include recommendations as to revised codes and practices of ethics and a framework using AI and advanced analytics to review ethical practices of companies.

The project will be led by Prof Suzanne Young with Prof Naveen Chilamkurti and Prof Damminda Alahakoon of La Trobe University, and Professor Murali Prasad Panta with Dr Praveen Kulshreshtha of IIT Kampur and Dr Sameer G Kulkarni of IIT Gandhinagar. Together, they bring expertise in corporate governance, ethics and human behaviour, cyber threats and social engineering, and the use of predictive data for industry.

Next Generation Telecommunications Networks: Privacy and Security Challenges, Regulatory Interventions and Policy Framework

The explosive growth in wireless network usage and Internet of Things systems is expected to accelerate. While 56/6G networks offer significant improvements in terms of capacity, data rates, and potential energy efficiency, there is a need to address critical privacy and security challenges.  The work will focus on the issues that arise from wireless tracking systems that rely on detecting variations in the channel state information (CSI) due to the users’ physical activities and wireless networking.

Based on a series of experiments in Australia and India, the project will develop a comprehensive understanding of the extent of private information and metadata exposed and related inferences. This will be used to engage with standards and regulatory agencies and government bodies to strengthen data protection regimes in Australia, India and globally.

The research will be the basis for a comprehensive white paper detailing the emerging wireless network privacy and security threat landscape.  This will be followed up with a workshop in Bangalore with key regulators, standards body officials, policy makers and researchers, with the goal of initiating action to effectively address the emerging threats.

The work will be led by Prof. Joseph Davis with a team comprising Prof. Albert Zomaya, University of Sydney, with Prof. Aruna Seneviratne and Dr. Deepak Mishra, University of New South Wales, Jacob Malana, Orbit Australia, Dr. Dilip Krishnaswamy, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Dr. Ayon Chakraborty, IIT Madras and Sriganesh Rao, Calligo Technologies.