Next Generation Technologies Fund – FPGA Security (Medium priority) (closed)

Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group
This challenge has closed.
Partners: Data61, Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group
Fields of Research: Computer Software, Numerical and Computational Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, Information Systems, Other Information and Computing Sciences, Distributed Computing, Data Format, Cognitive Sciences
Tags: Cyber, Cyber Security, Data Privacy, Cyber Resilience
Audience: Researchers
Anticipated Funding: Assessment based
Applications Close (4:30pm AEDT): August 15, 2018
Applications Open: July 6, 2018
Call For Applications: July 6, 2018
Last Updated: August 20, 2018 5:10 AM
Challenge image

The Challenge

Defence systems, whether bespoke, military off the shelf, or commercial off the shelf contain many FPGAs. Software defined radios and radars, complex processing devices, sensor systems, and weapons systems all contain many commercial or military grade FPGAs. The F35 Fighter jet alone has well over 200 FPGAs within its electronic systems.

The need for these devices to operate securely, i.e., not be susceptible to attacks, either logical or physical, and maintain their intended functionality is important. Further the ability for these devices to be programmed and operated in a secure manner is also important.

We seek research focused on supporting the development of an ecosystem of tools and techniques to ensure correct operation of our FPGA platforms from design through to deployment. Combining extant best practices with research into resilience, robustness, and security of design, areas of interest include:


- Heterogeneity and replication in both design tools and physical FPGAs

- Self-checking FPGA designs

- Abstract FPGA platforms – FPGA abstraction layer or security overlays

- Protection of FPGA bit-stream and programming

- Multi-domain analysis (e.g., inter fabric side channel)

- Hybrid Analysis of FPGA-based hardware/software systems

- FPGA/soft core processor resilience, voting, redundancy and circuit garbling techniques


Preference is for proposals that exhibit a long-term vision, coupled with tangible milestone outputs in the first 12 months.

The Partners

Data61Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group

Eligibility Criteria

This opportunity is open to all registered Australian Universities and Australian Publicly Funded Research Agencies. 


  • Successful applicants must be able to meet the milestones and timelines outlined in their submission. 
  • Successful applicants must enter into a Data61 University Collaboration Agreement. 
  • Successful applicants will enter into the appropriate contracting arrangement within 3 weeks of announcement.


Terms and conditions

Proposals submitted will be assessed equally on the following criteria: 


  • Alignment to Defence strategy and the project priorities articulated in this document 
  • Future science criticality 
  • Collaboration depth (e.g. Collaboration with DST staff, Data61 staff, other universities, an industry partner, etc.) 
  • Delivery of outcomes (e.g. the ability of the proposal to deliver the agreed outcomes and milestones). 
  • Game changing potential to Defence


Please limit submissions to no more than 2000 words. Ensure that all contact details, current and potential DST, Data61 collaborators and/or research partner details are on a separate page/covering sheet. The proposals will be de-identified during the selection process to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. 

Defence and Data61 reserves the right to fund all, some or none of the proposals received under this Call for Applications. 


Contracts and Intellectual Property


Successful applicants will be required to enter into a Data61 University Collaboration Agreement and a subsidiary Collaborative Research Project Agreement with Data61 in order to access project funding. Data61 will enter into contracts with the lead party in each proposal. 

Any IP generated as part of the projects will vest in Data61 unless otherwise agreed, and Defence will receive a license for Commonwealth purposes only. 

Any Commonwealth funding contributed to the projects will be paid in accordance with successful completion of milestones and as negotiated by the parties. Where circumstances necessitate it is possible for a small payment to be made upon execution of the agreement and in accordance with Defence procurement rules. 


How to apply

Please submit via the DST portal.


Proposals are to be submitted by 4.30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), 15 August 2018. Only projects submitted via email to Cyber-NGTF@dst.defence.gov.au by the above deadline will be considered in this round. 

For further information or assistance, please contact: