The New South Wales government is offering grants up to $100,000 for local companies to trial their bushfire technology in the field under the first program of an R&D mission announced in last year’s state budget.
The first $1.5 million round of the Bushfire Technology Pilots Program is offering the grants to support trials and pilots of emergency of field-ready bushfire technology developed by New South Wales businesses.
The new program is the first t initiative of the state government’s Bushfire Response R&D Mission, which was a key recommendation of the New South Wales Bushfire Inquiry and the government’s R&D action plan.
The first round of the Bushfire Technology Pilots Program opened in December but was only announced on Friday by newly-appointed Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens, who took on the portfolio in the premier’s cabinet reshuffle late last year.
“This program is about strengthening planning, preparation and response to bushfire threats, so that NSW firefighting services continue to be a leader in this space,” Mr Henskens said in a statement.
The trials will include the state’s bushfire and natural hazard disaster management and response agencies using the technology in the field, and providing applicants with data, facilities and testing environments to validate their work.
Pilots will focus on assisting fire agencies to evaluate how they might operationalise the technology through workforce capability development and integration into existing systems and procedures.
The bushfire technology will need to be at a Technology Readiness Level of at least six, meaning it is in its final design stage, with at least a small number already manufactured.
Universities can apply in partnership with a business, which must lead the application.
Recipients will also need to agree to make the data their projects generate available via the state government’s open data initiative.
The $28 million Bushfire Response R&D Mission was revealed in the lead up to last year’s state budget. $7 million is to be released each year over four years, with the mission’s focus heavily on technology.
“The Bushfire Technology Pilots Program is part of the $28 million commitment by the NSW Government to support bushfire research commercialisation and was also a key recommendation of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry,” parliamentary secretary to the premier Gabrielle Upton said.
R&D missions to solve the state’s long term strategic challenges were also a key recommendation of an R&D acceleration plan released in in early 2021 after two years of work.
Applications close for up to $1.5 million in grants in the first round on 7 February.
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