November 24, 2022

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New CSIRO program to help SMEs boost R&D knowledge in defence

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A new virtual program by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, aims to support Victorian SMEs to explore new R&D opportunities related to defence solutions.

The Innovate to Grow: Defence Victoria program will span 10 weeks and will equip Victorian businesses with the skills and knowledge to pursue a specific R&D opportunity.

Notably, it is open to all Victorian SMEs with an idea to pursue defence industry-related innovation and to businesses currently working in the defence industry.

“Even though we know R&D underpins innovation, it can be an expensive undertaking for businesses, as well as being risky and time consuming for those without the right guidance and support,” said George Feast, Deputy Director of CSIRO’s SME Connect.

“Through this course, we make the process less daunting for companies to navigate, so they feel empowered to pursue R&D with a research institution and ultimately have a big impact on the defence sector and company growth.”

Supported by the Defence Science Institute, the Innovate to Grow: Defence Victoria program offers industry knowledge, an R&D mentor, and experts from the industry to participants.

Dr Feast added, “Businesses will receive help to refine a specific idea and learn about how to partner with a research organisation, as well as build connections and opportunities with other businesses in the program.”

Innovations from previous participants of the program include applications of advanced materials, the development of smart soldier suits, and even advanced communications which translate conversations in foreign languages in real time.

Upon completion of the 10 week program, participants may be able to access facilitation support (through CSIRO) to connect to national research expertise, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.

“We’ve had alumni of the program go on to CSIRO Kick-Start projects, apply for state-based funding programs, and create connections with fellow participants to collaborate on a new project,” said Craig Butler, Industry Engagement Manager at the Defence Science Industry.

“Victorian SME’s have been consistent contributors of new ideas to the local and international defence sectors, often developing dual use technology. However, many of these great ideas fail to proceed to commercial success because of innovation realisation challenges.”

In 2021, CSIRO research revealed that less than 15 per cent of Australian businesses engage research institutions or universities when exploring innovation opportunities. Programs like Innovate to Grow: Defence Victoria aim to bridge this gap, Dr Feast added.

Applications for the program close on Monday, 3 October.

The program will commence on Monday, 17 October.

For more details, click here.

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READ MORE: CSIRO to offer free R&D support in advanced manufacturing to SMEs

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