The federal government has enlisted the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering into a partnership to help administer the $18.2 million strategic element of its Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund.
The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) will distribute grants over four years. Researchers can submit applications for grants out of the $18.2 million strategic element when its opens later in 2022.
ATSE has been charged with funding international collaborative projects in four priority areas; advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, hydrogen production, and RNA vaccines and therapies, which includes mRNA.
Science and Technology Minister Melissa Price said this would support the development of scientific capability in Australia.
“This fund will provide Australian researchers and businesses with the skills, knowledge and global opportunities to ensure our nation remains at the forefront of science and technological innovation, while solving some of the worldwide challenges we face,” Minister Price said.
“Investing in science and technology is particularly important as we navigate our way out of the COVID pandemic, and this fund will support economic recovery while boosting our international science and technology capability.
“The fund provides access to the world’s best knowledge, technology and research infrastructure in key areas, equipping Australian researchers and businesses with the tools they need to support our economic recovery and future prosperity.”
The $60.2 million Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund was announced in the 2021 federal budget as a replacement for the Global Innovation Strategy launched in 2016. As such, it incorporates earlier programs such as the Global Innovation Linkages program which started under the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.
The Commonwealth has identified the following international partners for 2022 based on their research record, impactful collaborative potential, and other data analysis.
- Advanced manufacturing: USA, Italy, UK, France, Switzerland
- Artificial intelligence and quantum computing: Japan, UK, France, Spain, USA
- Hydrogen production: Germany, Canada, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand
- RNA (including mRNA) vaccines and therapies: USA, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Singapore.
ATSE chief executive officer Kylie Walker said that there were a number of mutual benefits for Australia and its international research partners.
“By increasing links between Australia’s STEM leaders and global partners, we have a unique opportunity to unlock access to international networks that can boost our sovereign capabilities, grow our economy and build our international science and technology reputation in a win, win, win,” Ms Walker said.
Similarly, AAS foreign secretary Professor Elaine Sadler said that international collaboration was important in boosting Australia’s science and technology research and commercialisation effort.
The fund also features a bilateral tranche that will continue to be run by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources. This is further separated into two separate funds for collaboration with India and China.
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