DMTC Annual Conference, Health Security and Medical Countermeasures Session

The first session of the 2021 DMTC Annual Conference took place on 31 May, focusing on Health Security and Medical Countermeasures. The hybrid event was held in Brisbane to coincide with Land Forces 2021 and allowed some participants to attend in person, with the majority of attendees and speakers for the event attending the online broadcast.

This conference format adaptation, made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, exemplified the conference session themes of health security, resilience and preparedness.

Dr Mark Hodge, CEO DMTC, gave the first keynote address, describing the role of DMTC as “acting as a key element of Defence’s innovation ecosystem… and trusted to deliver”, and highlighting the importance of capability, reliability and innovation in DMTC’s approach. Dr Hodge also announced the establishment of the new Health Security Division (HSD) of DMTC from 1 July, focused on activities including and adjacent to the National Medical Countermeasures Initiative.

Dr David Kershaw, Chief Science Engagement and Impact Division at Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) gave the second keynote address, giving insights into the relationship between DMTC and DSTG, as well as the broader Australian research sector, and the importance of partnering to achieve the best outcomes for Defence. “Places like DMTC have a core set of abilities that we need for Defence… capabilities that in many ways quite rightly sit outside of DSTG,” Dr Kershaw said.

The breadth of technical expertise being supported and developed through the Medical Countermeasures program was then displayed through a number of technical presentations from project leaders including Associate Professor Joanne Macdonald, Professor Stephen Graves, Dr Oliver Hutt, and Professor Louis Schofield, and from early career researcher Joanne Allard. The theme of preparedness continued with a presentation from DMTC Medical Countermeasures Program Leader Dr Felicia Pradera, who discussed the role of DMTC in the nation’s rapid response to COVID-19.

The session finished with a panel discussion surrounding the themes of sovereign health security and resilience from expert speakers Dr Rob Grenfell, Commodore Nicole Curtis RAN, Honorary Professor Dennis Shanks, Sue MacLeman, and Stuart Elliott, moderated by DMTC Health Security Division Head, Dr Leigh Farrell.

The conference session provided an informative and exciting overview of the activities of DMTC in the Health Security and Medical Countermeasures area. A second session focused on Advances in Platform & Enabling Technologies was held online on 16 June, and a third session focusing on Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment will be held in Adelaide and online, on 1 July.

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Posted by Emily Kibble on June 17th, 2021 Tagged: , , , , ,