Free cybersecurity R&D support for SMEs from CSIRO


Brandon How
Reporter

Free research and development support is now available to small and medium sized firms with cybersecurity needs through the latest round of its Innovate to Grow program.

The program offers 25 places on a 10-week online course that is free to attend for small to medium sized businesses. Following completion, CSIRO will continue to provide facilitation support to connect businesses to research expertise as well as providing matched funding for research and development.

During the course, participants will learn how to translate turn their ideas into viable research and development. This includes the development of an actionable business plans and supporting strategies. Participants are also paired with a mentor who is a researcher able to make connections with other experts.

2020 Cybersecurity strategy

Following onboarding sessions and a half-day workshop, participants will undertake a self-paced online innovation program accompanied by fortnightly webinars from sector experts, and research and development tax agents.

Any firm looking to improve their cybersecurity is invited to join, not just those in the cybersecurity sector. Applications for this round close on July 11 and can be submitted here, with the course starting on July 26. Applications for a second cohort will open on October 24.

This is one of five priority sectors supported through the Innovate to Grow Program. The other areas are defence, energy, manufacturing, and health, although the first intake for defence and energy cohorts has already closed.

CSIRO’s SME Collaboration Lead Dr George Feast said the incidences of cybersecurity attacks is on the reason due to the transition of moving many services online and increased remote working caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the number of cybercrimes reporter grew by 13 per cent in 2020-21

“To stay ahead of these cyberattacks, new solutions are required, and much of this is driven by SMEs developing new products and services through R&D. SMEs make up 99.8 per cent of all businesses in Australia. However, R&D can be an expensive undertaking for businesses and risky for those without the right guidance and support,” Dr Feast said.

“Participants will be given help to refine a new idea they want to explore and to better understand their idea’s business and scientific viability. They will also be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts, and work with an R&D mentor. Companies will also tap into CSIRO’s own cyber security expertise through Data61, CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm.

“Even though collaboration is key in driving good R&D outcomes, research we released last year found that less than 15 per cent of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions for their innovation activities – our goal through this program is to up that percentage.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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