​Turnbull offers up AU$18m in collaboration grants

The Australian government has pledged AU$18 million over five years to businesses and researchers to spend on global-scale collaboration.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The federal government will be handing out grants of up to AU$1 million to Australian businesses and individuals to be spent on research and development projects with global partners.

In his first speech as the newly-appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt announced the new initiative under the government's Global Innovation Linkages program, which will see AU$18 million over five years go towards "collaboration".

"This initiative aims to support Australian industry and research organisations to collaborate on industry-focused challenges with global partners," Hunt said.

"If we are to realise our vision for an economy powered by innovation, we'll need a strong pipeline of people with the skills and capability to support it."

According to Hunt, funding of up to AU$1 million per project over a maximum of four years is to be matched by Australian and global partners.

The funding forms part of the government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda. Unveiled in December, the agenda covers four principles: Building the science culture and capital, strengthening collaboration, encouraging science and innovation talent, and government as an exemplar.

Under the agenda, the government pledged a total of AU$36 million over five years for its Global Innovation Strategy, aimed at improving Australia's international innovation and science collaboration.

"Innovation in our economy is key to our nation's future jobs and growth which is why the government is vigorously implementing its National Innovation and Science Agenda," Former Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, said at the time.

"Our global innovation strategy will advance Australia's international collaboration performance and encourage Australians to leverage entrepreneurial expertise found in key locations overseas."

Since the innovation agenda was unveiled, the federal government has also kicked off its AU$11 million startup landing pad initiative aimed at helping Australian entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market.

The inaugural landing pad was unveiled in February, with the government selecting Silicon Valley's RocketSpace technology campus to kick off the initiative.

Tel Aviv was then announced as the second host city for the government-funded project; Shanghai was unveiled as the desired location for the third landing pad, Berlin was revealed as the fourth location, and Singapore was confirmed as the fifth and final landing pad spot in May.

When announcing the AU$11 million landing pad initiative, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the billion-dollar promise would be used to incentivise innovation and entrepreneurship, reward risk taking, and promote science, maths, and computing in schools.

"Australia is falling behind on measures of commercialisation and collaboration, consistently ranking last or second last among OECD countries for business-research collaboration," he said. "Our appetite for risk is lower than in comparable countries, which means Australian startups and early stage businesses often fail to attract capital to grow."

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