​Australia and China sign AU$12m 'Dialogue on Innovation'

It is expected the new arrangement will enable the exchange of ideas between representatives from government agencies, business, and the research sector across both countries.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian government has signed a formal "Dialogue on Innovation" agreement with China that will see both countries exchange ideas between government representatives, business, and the research sector.

Under the arrangement, both countries will contribute up to AU$6 million over three years to the next round of the Joint Research Centres, under the Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF), which supports strategic science, technology, and innovation collaboration considered of mutual benefit to both countries.

According to Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos, the funding will focus mainly on advanced manufacturing, medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, and resources and energy.

In addition, Australia and China have also established a new memorandum of understanding on Intellectual Property signed between the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China and IP Australia.

"This new agreement deepens the existing cooperation between Australia and China on intellectual property matters and supports the role of our newly created IP Counsellor to China," Sinodinos said in a statement.

"It will enrich the bilateral relationship, help us provide guidance on the IP systems in both countries, and assist Australian businesses to better navigate the Chinese IP system."

In a bid to strengthen ties with China, the government announced six Joint Research Centres last April to address challenges both countries face in the marine science, food and agribusiness, and mining equipment technology and services sectors.

For a cost of AU$5.95 million, the six virtual centres are to be funded for three years under the ACSRF.

The federal government chose China to host one of its five startup landing pads, with former Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne saying last year that Shanghai was being positioned by the Chinese government as a global centre for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The AU$11 million startup landing pad initiative is aimed at helping Australian entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market in overseas locations, with sites set up in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Singapore.

The Australian government then facilitated the visit of four local startups to Chengdu, China in August, aimed at building a trade and innovation exchange between both countries.

The initiative, Chengdu Innovate, is a recipient of an Australia-China Council grant and is jointly managed by the technology transfer arm of the University of New South Wales, UNSW Innovations, and China Ambition, a business consultancy outfit that helps Australian firms engage with the Chinese market.

In February, the Australian government signed a treaty-level Science, Research, and Innovation Cooperation Agreement with the New Zealand government.

As part of the agreement, Australia and New Zealand will work together to tackle chronic disease, advance general health care, and improve the accuracy and availability of GPS signals.

The agreement with New Zealand was closely followed by a similar arrangement signed with Israeli government that will see both countries work together on bilateral cooperation in technological innovation, research, and development that is expected to allow Australian companies to take advantage of opportunities in Israel's biotechnology, IT, and R&D sectors.

At the time, Sinodinos said the agreement is "great news" as Australia seeks to emulate the success Israel has experienced in commercialising research findings.

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