Govt spotlight on RegTech for latest BRII grants round

Brandon How

A combined $1.6 million of federal grants have been awarded to 17 businesses for proposals that reduce regulatory compliance costs through the latest round of the Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII).

After a two-month submission period in mid-2021, firms were awarded up to $100,000 to conduct three-month feasibility studies. Successful projects will then be able to apply for an additional grant of up to $1 million – out of a $10 million pool – to build a prototype or proof of concept product.

Since the modest BRII initiative was announced in 2015, the total value of grants has reached just over $32 million.

The Regulatory Technology Round is the fourth round of the BRII. Startups and small businesses were called to develop solutions to four challenges posed by different Commonwealth agencies. These challenges are to use technology:

  • For real-time and accurate asbestos testing (five firms awarded) via the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
  • For a streamlined path to marine autonomous systems assurance (two firms awarded) via the Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • To help identify and assess poor market disclosure by listed companies (five firms awarded) via the Australian Securities Investment Commission
  • For remote and automated monitoring of export livestock health and welfare (5 firms awarded) via the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment

Following the work with their respect agency, the awarded businesses will retain intellectual property rights and the right to sell in domestic and global markets. Find a full list of Round Four recipients here.

“We are backing the great ideas of Australian industry. These BRII grants give businesses the opportunity to work with Government to test ideas – which can solve challenges faced by governments but also support the growth of innovative startups,” Industry Minister Angus Taylor said.

Assistant Minister for Industry Development Jonno Duniam said the funding would provide opportunities for capability development and growth in private industry.

“When it comes to problem-solving Australian businesses are amongst the best in the world, and this funding will harness and grow that capacity while solving challenges of national and indeed international significance,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

The BRII was first announced in 2015 as a part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and issues a new round of challenges every two years.

The BRII’s two primary aims are: first, to create more opportunities for the government to procure and foster innovation; and secondly, to boost international competitiveness by catching up with other OECD countries in the generation of new-to-market innovations

A BRII pilot post-commencement evaluation report undertaken in 2018 found it was “well designed and implemented.” The program is similar in concept to the US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the UK Small Business Research Initiative programs, but hands out a significantly smaller pool of grants.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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