Vice Admiral Paul Maddison RCN (Ret’d), CMM MSM has been appointed inaugural Director of the University of New South Wales’ Defence Research Institute.

Vice Admiral Maddison said the chance to contribute to the national security of Australia was what first and foremost attracted him to the role.

“It is an essential challenge to take an innovative idea with the potential to either close a capability gap or to enhance an existing advantage, to develop the necessary support, research, and funding to bring it to life, and then to see that through from the theoretical to its practical application in supporting not only the warfighter, but all agencies that contribute to Australia's national security,” he said.

“One of my immediate priorities will be to promote a greater awareness of the Institute and establish it as the premier defence-focused research entity in Australia. I want to work closely with local, national and international government, industry and academic leaders to bring that capability together.”

UNSW Canberra Rector Professor Michael Frater welcomed Vice Admiral Maddison saying he looks forward to working closely with him to deliver world-class defence and national security research.

 “UNSW's Defence Research Institute provides Defence and national security agencies with solutions to real-life issues. With his background and experience, I am confident that Vice Admiral Maddison will lead the Institute to where it needs to go to make the most impact.”

Vice Admiral Maddison served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 37 years, culminating in his appointment as Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy in 2011. From 2015 to 2019, he served as Canada’s High Commissioner to Australia.

“I see enabling Australia’s national security priorities as being very similar to serving those of Canada and our Allies. We are like-minded, values-based, democratic free-trading countries committed to punching above our weight in sustaining the rules-based international order.”

Vice Admiral Maddison recognises that the nature of military operations and the factors that impact upon national security have evolved rapidly in recent years, saying that there is a constant acceleration towards faster, more information and technology enabled ways of dominating the joint battlespace, from seabed to space. He said it was a fundamental challenge for today’s Commanders and operators at all levels to manage that barrage of information.

“The need for combat operators to rapidly access a huge amount of information in a highly disrupted environment, distill it down to its essential elements and then make effective decisions leading to mission success has increased immensely. This applies equally to working across and contributing to whole of Government responses to national security threats.

“There will continue to be disruptive change and Australia, like many countries, needs to be prepared. This is where UNSW's Defence Research Institute will come in to assist Defence Forces and national security agencies to sustain their full potential. I plan to see the Institute centered in a feedback loop of new operational requirements flowing from capability gaps identified by Defence and national security agencies, and highly competent UNSW researchers seizing upon these problems to rapidly and collaboratively develop innovative solutions through the activation of dynamic partnerships with defence industries and international partners.”

Vice Admiral Maddison will begin the position in June. For more information, visit the UNSW Defence Research Institute website.