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Australian Govt. unveils its Regional Collaborations Programme to foster cross-cultural R&D

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As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science has unveiled its latest initiative— the Regional Collaborations Programme. The programme looks to encourage research organizations, universities, and research and development intensive businesses to collaborate on new products with partners in Asia Pacific.

The programme will fund Australian participants from eligible organizations, enabling them to collaborate with regional and international science, research and innovation partners on solutions to shared regional challenges within the Asia-Pacific regions. The funding initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Global Innovation Strategy under the NISA.

With $3.2 million invested over four years, the programme looks to help fund activities that facilitate greater collaboration in science, research and innovation that will address regional and national issues of significance, such as food and energy security, ageing populations, biosecurity, disaster resilience and environmental threats.

The four-year programme will support single-year or multi-year collaborative, multi-partner projects and non-project aligned collaborative workshops, aiming to support the government’s commitment to:

  • assist in the removal of barriers for researchers and businesses seeking to collaborate on issues of regional and national significance,
  • support technical and research mobility,
  • build research capability, facilitating Australia’s access to global science and research networks and infrastructure.

The programme is designed to be flexible, with no set minimum or maximum funding requirements for project applications. This approach has been adopted to help foster innovative ideas and collaborations.

Although there is no set minimum or maximum total project cost requirement, projects much include matched funding of 1:1 (cash only). For example, if an applicant seeks $25,000 of programme funding, then the project proponents would need to contribute another $25,000 (cash), bringing the total value of the project to $50,000.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt, said,

Engagement between Australian industry and researchers and leaders in the Asia Pacific region will help improve the skill set of local workers and the capabilities of Australian businesses, presenting new opportunities for investment and growth.

The other initiatives under the Global Innovation Strategy include –

  • Landing pads in innovation hotspots worldwide for Australian market-ready start-ups,
  • The Global Innovation Linkages programme, helping Australian industry and research organizations to undertake research and development projects with international partners in key economies, and,
  • The Global Connections Fund, providing seed funding for Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to link with international researchers.

The launch of the programme comes as the latest initiative encouraging Australian businesses to do business in Asia.

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