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Science Careers

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Do you have qualifications in science?

Are you seeking a career that offers unparalleled exposure to innovative scientific expertise, diverse learning opportunities and unique development experiences? Regardless of your specialisation, Defence needs science graduates to work across a wide spectrum of career opportunities around Australia that will offer constant exposure to new and exciting challenges.

When applying to work as a graduate in Defence, you can choose from the following development programs, designed to prepare you for an exciting and diverse career in Defence.

Which graduate development Stream is right for you?

Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway – Intelligence and Cyber Stream

Our Intelligence agencies possess an insatiable demand for science specialists. Your work will directly support national intelligence priorities of Government and to support our military operations regionally and beyond.

For more information about a career as an intelligence analyst, visit Intelligence and Cyber Graduate opportunities

Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation

The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) is Australia’s lead geospatial and imagery intelligence organisation.

AGO’s Intelligence Officers also undertake work with a distinct scientific focus. As the exploitation of imagery is a key AGO activity, we place great importance on maintaining and developing our capability to use new technologies in areas such as remote sensing. In doing this, AGO liaises closely with Defence Science and Technology Group, national research organisations, academia and industry to help AGO make the most of emerging technologies to meet our intelligence mission.

AGO’s Intelligence Officers have a wide variety of specialist skills and knowledge including: Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing in several disciplines including radar and spectral and infrared. AGO’s Intelligence Officers research and apply advanced techniques, and develop and transition valuable technology into operational applications or provide high end technical support to analysts.

Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation

The Australian Signals Directorate

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) is a vital member of Australia’s national intelligence community. Our motto, Reveal their secrets. Protect our own, summarises our roles: we collect foreign intelligence by interception; we provide advice and assistance on cyber security; and we conduct offensive cyber operations. ASD finds that its best teams work with a variety of skills and specialities, and that the diversity in those teams really helps to deliver innovative results.

Many of our analysts come from scientific backgrounds, as their critical thinking skills are a vital asset in our work. ASD analysts work on a broad range of tasks which include investigating large and complex data sets, developing new methods of analysing data for intelligence or cyber security purposes, and solving cryptological problems using advanced mathematical concepts.

The Australian Signals Directorate

Defence Intelligence Organisation

Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) analyses information from a range of national and international sources and creates insightful, reliable and incisive assessments that help defend Australia and protect its interests. Our mission is to provide the best intelligence possible to the intelligence consumer. To achieve this mission, DIO requires scientific analysts from a broad range of disciplines, including: chemistry, biology, physics, mechanical and chemical engineering, and medical sciences.

A scientific analyst within DIO conducts unique specialist all-source analysis focusing on specific areas of military interest, including nuclear, chemical and biological proliferation; strategic health issues; emerging technologies; and Weapons of Mass Destruction-related weapons systems.

This analysis informs whole-of-government consideration of major development projects and policy objectives regarding WMD and strategic health issues. It also supports Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on operations around the world, by identifying vulnerabilities and potential countermeasures to mitigate against risk.

DIO’s scientific intelligence analysts are encouraged to maintain and broaden their scientific skills, receive extensive training in the tradecraft of intelligence, and travel internationally to share ideas with a network of scientific and technical experts on advances in science.

Defence Intelligence Organisation

Computer sciences and related disciplines are a high priority with opportunities available across most of Defence Science and Technology's (DST) research areas. Candidates with a computer science background can apply their degree and contribute to research areas including cyber security, communications and networks research, machine learning and data mining, artificial intelligence, big data analysis, cryptology, natural language processing and autonomous systems.

Biology, Chemistry, Radiological or related degrees will see you work in world-class laboratories and contribute to research that informs, safeguards and mitigates risks posed by chemical, biological, and radiological threats.

Human, Social and Health Sciences is all about people. Apply your psychology degree to enhance the selection and training of Australia’s warfighters; research human/machine interactions in DST’s Human Factors groups to improve functionality; or use your sociology degree to identify and analyse current and potential conflicts and emerging contingencies.

DST also drives food and nutrition innovation and manages the quality assurance of combat ration foods, develops novel techniques in stabilisation of probiotics and vitamins, and develops prototype food products to ensure the nutritional health of Australan Defence Force personnel during training and deployment.

Research and Innovation stream

The per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Investigation and Management (PFASIM) Branch leads Defence’s response on a high-profile emerging contaminant issue. Since the 1950s, PFAS chemicals have been used widely to make household and industrial products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. Defence has been proactive in initiating an environmental investigation program into the nature and extent of PFAS contamination on, and in the vicinity of, Defence sites as a result of the historical use of legacy firefighting foam.

PFASIM Branch offers diverse opportunities, with staff delivering technical, project management and policy outcomes, and collaborating to provide innovative solutions to the PFAS contamination issue.

In PFASIM Branch, you will use your skills to help develop response and management solutions to PFAS contamination on, and in the vicinity of, Defence bases. You will also collaborate on the development of forward-thinking policy and practice that enables practical outcomes for people living in affected communities, by providing evidence-based advice that informs sound decision-making. Your understanding of earth sciences, environmental science or statistics will be vital in contributing to site investigations and coordinating with experts within the Investigations team. Alternatively, developing future management strategies with the Technical Policy team provides the opportunity to utilise your chemistry and engineering skills. Our understanding of PFAS continues to evolve, and Defence must remain equipped with critical thinking and technical literacy to offer effective and efficient response options.

Estate and Infrastructure stream

Quick Details

  • Degree types: Tertiary scientific qualifications (Chemistry; Physics; Medical Science; Physical Science; Human, Social and Health Science)
  • Salary:
    • APS 4: $67,100 pa + 15.4% superannuation. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will advance to APS 5: $73,256 pa + 15.4% superannuation
  • Program:
    • Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway – 12 months – 3 x 4 month rotations (some variations for to accommodate training)
    • Defence Science and Technology Pathway – 12 months – 1 x 8 month rotations and 1 x 4 month rotation.
  • Eligibility: View eligibility requirements
  • Intake:
    • Intelligence and Cyber Stream - February (all), July (ASD only)
    • Research and Innovation Stream - February
  • Location:
    • Defence Science and Technology Pathway - Various Australia wide (Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Tasmania)
    • Intelligence and Cyber Stream – Canberra (interstate rotations outside of Canberra are available)
  • Benefits: Why Choose Defence
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