The government has opened its Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) to regtechs, challenging them to develop digital solutions for the governance of corporations, livestock, autonomous marine systems and asbestos testing.
Australian startups and SMEs can submit ideas to address the regulatory challenges in the four areas, with successful applicants awarded up to $100,000 each for a three-month feasibility study.
Success could lead to up to $1 million more in grants to develop a prototype, with $10 million on offer in total in the latest round.
The four challenge areas are:
- Using technology to identify and assess potential poor disclosure by listed companies.
- Using technology for remote and automated monitoring of export livestock health and welfare.
- Using technology for a streamlined path to marine autonomous systems assurance.
- Using technology for real-time and accurate asbestos testing.
“Australia’s strong regulatory environment is designed to keep our workplaces safe, our products high quality, and help consumers get what they pay for,” said the new Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter.
“But the downside to having that important safety net is the compliance burden it imposes on businesses.
“With this $10 million round, we’re looking for innovative regulatory technologies to reduce that burden in four key areas, while keeping Australian standards at world’s best levels.”
The BRII program was set up as a $12 million pilot and funded from the start of the 2016/17 financial year.
The two main goals of the program are to reduce the resistance of government agencies to procure innovative solutions from smaller local providers.
Secondly, the BRII aims to encourage Australian firms develop new-to-market innovations, a long time challenge compared to OECD peers.
An evaluation of the program in 2018 found the BRII had been well designed and implemented. The report found just under half the SMEs that progressed to the proof of concept stage had started to commercialise IP developed through the BRII.
But it was unclear if government agencies would adopt more innovative procurement practices or work more with SMEs.
Set to expire last year, the government refunded the initiative with $25.4 million to 2022/23.
According to the government, the BRII program has now provided 73 grants, totalling more than $20 million in funding to date.
The latest round aligns with the government’s ongoing deregulation agenda, said Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton.
“Efficient regulation isn’t a set and forget exercise – it’s an ongoing process of improvement and modern technologies have a huge potential to replace or streamline existing administration processes, while also helping to reduce compliance costs for business,” Assistant Minister Morton said.
Applications for the latest grant round close on June 3 2021.
Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.