More than $40 million worth of grants were delivered to 19 projects as part of the sixth round of the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants program. In case you missed the news, it was announced under the radar on Christmas Eve.
As part of the $731 million CRC Program, the grants support short term industry-led partnerships to develop new technologies, products, and services that deliver tangible (and commercial) outcomes for the country.
Among the recipients included $3 million for a tool that to improve surgical accuracy when removing tumours in cancer patients. Another project, worth $2.9 million, would be used to create support tools and real-time insights using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help farmers manage crop productivity.
A separate project received $2.1 million for the development of a new transport device for donor hearts that will make more hearts available for more patients.
Of the 19 recipients, 13 of the projects that focus on artificial intelligence would also be supported through additional funding received in the 2018-19 Budget.
A full list of the funded projects can be found here.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the government had invested more than $202 million into CRC Projects since 2016.
“These industry-led partnerships will improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, and create more jobs,” she said.
“Small and medium businesses are the backbone of our economy, and this investment will help businesses grow, find new market opportunities and bring significant returns to Australia.”
During a doorstop interview, in which Ms Andrews received no questions from journalists about the CRC itself but instead about troops in Syria, she added how the additional funding would “significantly increase the health and well-being of Australians.”
“This is the single largest commitment that has ever been made to fund these types of projects, and it can only be done because the Coalition has built such a strong economy,” Ms Andrews said.
“If we don’t have a strong economy, we don’t have the opportunity to fund projects such as this that will improve the health and well-being of so many Australians and potentially globally.”