Grant program launches to encourage SMEs to collaborate with researchers


Australian SMEs can now partner with international researchers through a fund established by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and Australian Government.

The first round of Global Connections Fund grants are now available to help Australian SMEs collaborate with international researchers and seize innovation opportunities with a global focus.  

The announcement was made in Adelaide this week by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, who said it forms an important part in the Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda and will support increasing Australia’s linkages with key economies. Cooperation in business, technology and science at the international level is set to spur economic growth in Australia and partner economies.

The grants are open to Australian SMEs looking to initiate research and innovation partnerships while reducing their financial risk. Eligible SMEs will be offered a total funding of AUD$7000.

The grants will facilitate initial exploratory partner meetings to take place and assist in the cost of undertaking consortium meetings and establishing formal relationships. The funds can also be used to support the partnerships as they explore the viability of intended research and development and explore project seed-funding.  

The grants will support activities focusing on national industry and research and science priorities. The key areas are advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, mining equipment, technology and services, and oil, gas and energy resources.

SMEs will need to take part in a two stage application process which consists of an Expression of Interest, which undergoes and eligibility assessment, and an invitation for application.

The application requires businesses to provide a clear activity proposal and breakdown of grant spending, collaboration timeline and information on the partnership.

Expressions of Interest close the 6th May 2016 and applications close on 27th May 2016.