Growth Centre dishes out $9m to manufacturers

Brandon How

The manufacturing growth centre has awarded $9 million in matched funding to a range of local manufacturers.

The Commonwealth grants were distributed through the second round of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centres (AMGC)-managed Commercialisation Fund.

Advanced manufacturing and the 5G opportunity

It is delivered with a funding ratio of 1:4, with the 24 successful manufacturers having committed a total $32.4 million of their own money.

The fund was launched in March 2021 as a part of the government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy. Its purpose is to support projects aligned with the government’s six national manufacturing priorities (NMP). Grants were available in the range $100,000 to $1 million.

Overall, $29 million of the $30 million allocated to the Commercialisation Fund has been allocated across 55 projects.

More than a third of the successful applicants are from the recycling and clean energy sector, nearly a quarter are medical products, 18 per cent are from the food and beverage industries, 14 per cent each from space and defence and 11 per cent representing resource technology and critical mineral processing.

The AMGC was established in 2015 alongside other industry growth centres as independent not-for-profit industry organisations to promote cultural change and boost collaboration, commercialisation, skills, and regulatory reform. The Industry Growth Centres are expected to become self-sustaining later this year when federal funding comes to an end.

Queensland-based Endua was the recipient of nearly $950,000, the largest grant in this round, to boost its manufacturing capability. The firm specialises in producing hydrogen power banks that produce 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Biotechnology company Vaxxas was awarded $600,000 from the fund to commercialise its pioneering needle-free vaccine technology. Using the money, production of its high-density microarray patch, or vaccine patch, will be scaled up and automated.

Funding for Vaxxas comes after construction of its new Queensland manufacturing facility began in December last year. Expected to be complete in early 2023, the firm estimates a maximum yearly output of 300 million doses.

“We are proud to be an Aussie-grown technology and part of a manufacturing industry that continues to innovate, invest, and grow. The support from the AMGC will allow us to set up efficient automation workflows, supporting our mission of transforming the vaccination field through world class medical innovation,” Vaxxas chief executive David Hoey said.

Other funded projects include around $700,000 for the scaling up of Victoria-based 3RT’s technology for recycling wood residue into hardwood akin to 100-year-old timber, $650, 000 for the commercialisation of Queensland-based Examin’s two-minute COVID breath test and $500,000 for the commercialisation of New South Wales-based Spiral Blue’s integrated hyperspectral instrument that allows for the chemical analysis of Earth from space.

AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said the range of companies receiving funding demonstrates the diversity of manufacturing in Australia.

“This latest tranche of co-investment demonstrates the broad capability of Australian manufacturing and its ability to drive jobs growth across the entire spectrum of manufacturing roles, known as the Smiley Curve – that is jobs in R&D, design through to production, distribution, and highly-sought after sales and services positions,” Dr Goennemann said.

“The demand for targeted, well-managed, and appropriately sized co-investment has seen the Commercialisation Fund near exhaustion after just ten months. This demonstrates the appetite for co-capital investment and the manufacturing industry’s willingness to match or better Federal investment to commercialise Australian ideas for domestic and international markets.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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