State support to create NSW research ‘Vault’, expand Morse Micro footprint

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Sydney’s Tech Central will add a secure collaborative research and innovation facility known as the “Vault” for cybersecurity and Defence projects, while one of the innovation precinct’s residents is planning an expansion after securing government tax breaks and rebates.

Both the Vault – to be led by the University of Technology Sydney – and the support for Sydney based WiFi chip developer Morse Micro were announced on Tuesday by the New South Wales government at the Tech Central Summit.

UTS and Morse Micro are receiving support for the new projects from the state’s $250 million Jobs Plus program, which ends later this month. It was not disclosed how much each will receive.

Sydney’s Tech Central district. Image: Investment NSW

The Vault is described as a “purpose-built, Department of Defence-compliant facility” not present anywhere else in the state. It will facilitate protected projects with private sector tenants and university researchers to help commercialise cybersecurity and Defence projects.

UTS Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Parfitt said the Vault is in response to growing demand for secure research facilities and will help develop local talent.

“The UTS Vault will help NSW build a pipeline of highly skilled workers for the technology and innovation industry by providing world-leading cyber security education and hands-on experience for undergraduate and higher degree students, industry employees seeking to re-skill and startups,” Professor Parfitt said.

The New South Wales Government is providing support for the Vault’s construction from its Jobs Plus program in the form of infrastructure rebates.

The $250 million program offers tax breaks and rebates to incentivise organisations to relocate or expand in the state.

It will also help Morse Micro with tax breaks, infrastructure and training rebates to expand its workforce.

Morse Micro develops WiFi HaLow microprocessors, and its team includes one of the original inventor of Wi-Fi, Professor Neil Weste. It now expects to add at least 30 more local staff, cementing the company as the largest semiconductor employer in the country.

The company’s low-power, long-range WiFi chips are able to transmit ten times farther than conventional ones and are geared towards a booming IoT market.

“By 2030, there will be 125 billion IoT devices in the world and this growth is driving us to rethink WiFi and connectivity,” Morse Micro chief executive and co-founder Michael De Nil said.

“By changing the status quo of our current Wi-Fi protocols we are pushing the boundaries of our digital future, driving transformation and enhancing connectivity across the globe.”

Now with offices in offices in Sydney, India, China and the United States, Morse Micro has secured more than $30 million from investors since it was founded in 2016.

It will expand its Surry Hills office and recruit a new R&D team with the latest support, which is yet to be finalised.

The New South Wales Government said on Tuesday it has progressed Morse Micro’s application for the Job Plus program.

The dollar-value of the support was not announced, and even when a final agreement is complete, is unlikely to be disclosed.

The Jobs Plus Program was set up to create 25,000 new full-time equivalent jobs in New South Wales by mid-2024.

It offers support to local or international companies with a significant footprint in the state that commit to adding at least 30 fulltime equivalent employees in the state by the deadline.

Final agreements are determined by the minister’s discretion following a merit-based assessment of the application and recommendation. Large parts of the support are typically payroll tax exemptions based on how many new staff the company adds, making it difficult to forecast a final dollar figure.

Previous support packages from the program for large companies were described as a “multi-million dollar” package.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Stuart Ayres announced the support for Morse Micro at the Investment NSW 2022 Tech Central Summit.

“The Sydney-based Morse Micro team is made up of world-class engineers who have developed much of the technology we use every day in our smartphones, laptops and connected devices,” Mr Ayres said.

“We’re excited to be able to support the team to develop its new HaLow technology through the Jobs Plus Program, to bring even more innovation to Tech Central.”

The state government also announced the first recipients of its $11 million scale-up rental rebate program.

The first recipients are men’s health platform Mosh, construction technology software startup Mastt, short-term loan provider Fundo, real-time account-to-account merchant payments platform Zepto Payments and construction scheduling app Veyor.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

Leave a Comment

Related stories