$8.5m for unis, tech companies to work globally

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Seven universities and three companies have shared in $8.5 million in federal R&D collaboration grants, with funded projects including portable sanitising stations to stop COVID-19 spread, turning grain crops into protein-based foods, and an innovative treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

The grants come under round 3 of the Global Innovation Linkages Program, an initiative of the 2016 National Innovation and Science Agenda’s Global Innovation Strategy. The program will now be rolled into the Coalition Government’s Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund.

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The fund was revealed in the May budget and consolidates international science programs with overall funding cuts of $6.6 million.

The Global Innovation Linkages Program provides funding for universities and businesses working with global partners from “priority” economies in six strategic areas that align with the government funded industry growth centres.

The third round of the program focused on food and agribusiness, medical technologies, and resources.

The University of Sydney received $993,573 for a project involving partners in Singapore to investigate methods to convert Australia’s pulse crops into protein-based foods.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology received $500,000 for a collaboration project with Canadian researchers to develop a smart prefabricated chamber to prevent highly contagious diseases like COVID-19.

Deep Brain Stimulation Technologies received the maximum grant of $1 million for its work with German and Japanese partners on a precise targeting of brain stimulation therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

Deep Brain Stimulation or DBS therapy involves implanting electrodes into the areas of the brain which control movement. For sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, they can be connected to other devices to help minimise shaking.

The Victorian company has previously received support from Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund in 2019.

Industry Minister Christian Porter announced the latest Global Innovation Linkages Program recipients on Monday.

“Whether it’s helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, developing new treatments for chronic diseases, or creating new food products for export markets, the Global Innovation Linkages Program brings together the best and brightest minds from at home and abroad to drive innovation and find solutions to complex problems,” Mr Porter said in a statement.

“By supporting such partnerships we are also creating new opportunities for our local industries and driving the economic growth and job creation we need as we continue to recover from the pandemic.”

The full round three grant recipients are:

  • University of Sydney – $993,573 – Transitioning Australian pulses into protein-based food industries. Global partners: Singapore.
  • RMIT – $500,000 – Smart prefabricated chamber to prevent highly contagious diseases. Global partners: Canada.
  • Curtin University – $999,624 – Broadband fibre optic sensing for subsurface resource characterisation. Global partners: USA.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation Technologies Pty Ltd – $1,000,000 – More precise targeting of brain stimulation therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Global partners: USA.
  • Bellaseno Pty Ltd – $1,000,000 – Transformation of the implant paradigm in bone and breast reconstruction. Global partners: Germany and Japan.
  • Monash University – $1,000,000 – Manufacturing and commercialisation of novel [18F]-PET radiotracers. Global partners: Germany.
  • Flinders University – $1,000,000 – Development of surgical training models of the knee, hip and spine. Global partners: USA.
  • Mantiss Corporation Pty Ltd – $525,000 – Development of complementary preservatives for Australian meat products. Global partners: Spain.
  • The University of Queensland – $1,000,000 – Improving mineral, coal and oil processing by de-aerating persistent froth. Global partners: China, Canada.
  • The University of Adelaide – $500,000 – Developing a scientific verification tool for global timber supply chains. Global partners: Singapore.

The Global Innovation Linkages program was the largest part of the Malcolm Turnbull-era Global Innovation Strategy.

The Global Innovation Strategy was consolidated into the new Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund along with other international science programs in the latest federal budget.

The new fund has been budgeted $54.2 million over four years from 2021-22 and $8.2 million per year ongoing to “support strategically important science and technology collaborations with global partners”.

“This will be achieved by consolidating international science funding programs in the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio,” budget papers said.

“Efficiencies from this measure of $6.6 million over five years from 2020-21 (and $0.5 million per year ongoing) will be redirected by the Government to fund policy priorities.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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