Getting SMEs connected with research is the aim of Bridging Grants provided under the $4.9 million Global Connections Fund. Round one of the new scheme will support 14 projects with a total of more than $600,000.
The low rate of collaboration between business and research and the great distance to major global markets remain major road blocks in Australia's innovation system. This was only recently highlighted in the 2016 Australian Innovation System Report.
Bridging Grants, each worth between $35,000 to $50,000, help Australians to engage in such global research-industry interactions.
Recipients of round one are Australian businesses collaborating with researchers from overseas to test commercialisation and proof of concept of their innovations.
The grants will also support Australian researchers working with international businesses on issues that are also relevant to Australia.
Examples include a project by Professor Andrew Ball from RMIT University, who will work with industry in India to develop an ecofriendly control for powdery mildew and downy mildew control – two diseases that devastate grapes in both countries involved in the project.
New South Wales-based SME Ceramisphere will use the funding to work with researchers in the Czech Republik on a novel nano-composite biodegradable patch for the delivery of drugs through the skin.
Creating a prototype hardware and software system to assess the progress of victims of spinal cord injury and other neuromuscular conditions is the focus of a project by Kierre Williams from Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Mrs Williams will collaborate with industry in the US on the walWell remote sensor rehabilitation monitoring system.
The Global Connection Fund is is a key component of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), and is administered by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
All selected projects will focus on national priority areas also targeted by the Government's Industry Growth Centres. They include Advanced Manufacturing, Food and Agribusiness, Medical Technology and Pharmaceuticals, Mining Equipment, Technology and Services, and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources.
More information: https://globalconnectionsfund.org.au/