The ASD - ANU Co-Lab

A collaboration between the ANU Research School of Computer Science, the ANU Mathematical Sciences Institute and the Australian Signals Directorate.

Consistent with social distancing rules and ANU policy, all in-person activities have been suspended until further notice.

A centre of excellence for ground-breaking research, capacity building and nurturing the talent Australia needs to secure our national interests.


Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian National University (ANU) have entered into a 15 year partnership centred in the ASD-ANU Co-Lab, a new unclassified research facility on the ANU campus.

The Co-Lab is hosted in the Hanna Neumann building on the ANU campus and is a joint collaboration between the Australian Signals Directorate and the Research School of Computer Science based within the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Mathematical Sciences Institute based within the ANU College of Science.

This unique partnership is bringing together leading ANU academics and some of ASD’s foremost analysts and technologists to collaborate on a program which puts Australia’s national security at its centre.

The partnership will serve as an incubator for joint research and knowledge transfer and will develop a pipeline of students with the capabilities and skills required for a career with ASD and other STEM related fields.

The program of activities will look to increase the number of domestic graduates in STEM with a particular focus on areas such as cryptography, secure communications, computing, cyber security or vulnerability research.

image of laptop with hands

Key areas

To promote research collaboration in areas of mutual interest to ASD and ANU

To facilitate education and training activities and opportunities for ASD staff and ANU students.

To identify and foster talented students working in areas related to ASD.

To provide a focal point and meeting place for STEM Outreach initiatives to grow Australia’s STEM pool

We want the Co-Lab to be the place where future generations of STEM-skilled students start their academic and professional careers.  

That pathway might start in school or at the undergraduate level, or simply through connecting with people studying or working in areas you never even knew existed

Our long term vision and our commitment is to open up those pathways, to identify those students and to place in front of them, the academic and technical expertise needed to realise their academic and career goals.

This unique partnership will accelerate the transfer of knowledge and cutting-edge expertise in a continuous loop as part of the joint collaboration activities.  If you’re interested in joining one of our workshops or would like to contribute to one, then get in touch


If you are an Australian domestic student interested in pursuing further studies with a focus in data science, cryptography, secure communications, computing, cyber security or vulnerability research, applications for honours in 2020 are open now.

If you are an academic working with students, we encourage you to reach out to high-performing Australian domestic students who have an interest in the topics listed above and let them know about study opportunities with the Co-Lab.

News and events

Curious Minds

Improving pathways for under-represented groups in STEM is critical, and the Co-Lab runs specific targeted programs to achieve this. As an example, Co-Lab ran a series of workshops for high school girls interested in STEM as part of the Curious Minds coaching program. 

As part of the 2020 Curious Minds virtual winter program, female high school students will participate in a password cracking workshop, and they will then have a chance to ask staff questions in a panel

Student opportunities

ASD’s Cadet and Intern programs provide opportunities for current students to get on-the-job experience while you complete your degree. Applications for both programs opened on Monday 18 May. 

Cadetships are available to students who will have completed one year of their degree by the end of 2020. You will be employed on a part time basis at the ASD2 level, and will work for minimum 2 days per week with other cadets under the supervision of ASD mentors and supervisors. Your employment will continue for the remainder of your degree, and at the successful completion of the program you will be offered a permanent ASD4 position. Applications for cadetships closes Monday 29 June.

Internships are available to students who will have completed two years of their degree by the end of 2020. You will be engaged full time on a non-ongoing contract for 3 months at ASD2 level from November to February. During this time you’ll complete a supervised project based on ASD operational needs. Applications for internships close Sunday 7 June.

You can find out more about both these programs, including full eligibility criteria, at this link (scroll past the apprenticeship information).

n-Way Handshake

In February the Co-Lab hosted the first n-Way Handshake for 2020 where Australian undergraduate students had the opportunity to hear about what it’s like in a typical and perhaps not-so-typical working day at ASD. Students and ASD staff were then able to chat more informally over pizza (yep, we have pizza!)

The n-Way Handshake event is for Australian students currently studying at ANU to connect with each other, and researchers and staff from the ANU and ASD, and will resume once the ANU campus opens again. If you would like to be kept updated for the next n-Way Handshake.

ASD Visit

ASD’s first cohort of honours students visited the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) headquarters late last year. They were joined by current Masters and PhD students, as well as summer research students who are undertaking projects with ASD researchers over the semester break. At ASD, students met a number of staff who had similar educational backgrounds and learned about many potential career options.

Careers at ASD

Ever wondered what a career with ASD might look like? Read ABCs recent article here.

For more career opportunities, please check the website here.

Past events


Date & time: 19 Oct 2019, 9am - 3:30pm

Designed for students in years 11 - 12, STEAM Day brings together bright minds to consider how Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) can be combined to solve some of the greatest issues we face in the future.


Capture the flag

Date & time: 15 Apr 2019 10am–8pm , 16 Apr 2019 10am–5pm 

ANU has invited Australian Signals Directorate to run a 'Capture the Flag' event on campus. Capture the Flag (CTF) is a friendly competition consisting of assorted cyber security and cryptography problems and puzzles. Participants work in...


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Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing