Innovation Connections supersedes Research Innovations

A further $18 million in funding has been allocated by the Federal Government under its National Innovation & Science Agenda to support business advisory services and to foster business and research/higher education collaborations via the rebadged Innovation Connections element (formerly known as Research Connections) of the Entrepreneurs’ programme (EP).  

 

Unfortunately it only directly supports sectors falling within the five growth sectors listed below and neglects assistance for newer businesses and start-ups (of less than 3 years old) who are conducting important innovation and R&D in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Disruptive Technology sectors.

Innovation Connections will support new ideas and commercial innovation via fostering collaborations between Australian Businesses and the research sector. The programme connects businesses to expertise, technology and advice to meet R&D needs and also offers a grant to fund research.

In order to be eligible to apply for this grant companies must first step through the EP facilitation process outlined below.  Your facilitator’s report would essentially need to recommend or direct the business to apply for a research assistance grant.

EP facilitators and advisers are from eligible industry sectors and provide expertise, advice and support to businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity.

The facilitation process delivers:-

·         Access to a Facilitator at no charge.

·         A research needs assessment to identify any knowledge gaps that are preventing growth.

·         A tailored report with possible solutions to your problem.

·         Referrals to other research and industry programmes

·         Help to communicate research needs with research organisations.

·         Facilitating any project plans or commercial arrangements.

To help you progress your research project, your company may be able to apply for a matched funding grant (max. $50,000) to access research capability. 

This grant is for up to half the costs of engagement of publicly funded research org. (e.g. University, cancer research organisation or CSIRO), researcher, or research graduate; or placement of an employee into a research organisation.

Grants are paid as a refund to the company. The research project needs run for between 2 and 12 months.

A company needs to meet the following quite limited criteria to be eligible for the programme:-

·         have been commercially trading and lodging BAS for minimum of 3 consecutive years.

·         annual turnover or operating expenditure in the current, or one of the two previous, financial years between $1.5 million and $100 million ($750k min. turnover for applicants from Remote or Northern Australia).

·         have a novel product, process or service they wish to commercialise and trade to customers beyond just the state or territory of the applicant’s place of business

·         operate in one of the five growth sectors  – Advanced Manufacturing; Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals; Mining – Equipment  Technology and Services or Oil, Gas and Energy Resources or provide enabling technologies*, inputs or services to one of the five growth sectors

·         or is committed to, and has the skills, capability, IP or expertise to operate in, one or more of the five growth sectors in the future.

Detail of the Five Growth Sectors:-

·         Advanced Manufacturing – businesses that adopt innovative technologies or business practices to improve or develop manufactured products, processes or services… adoption of improvements or innovations across any of a range of manufacturing steps, such as concept, research and development, design, production, logistics, marketing and after-sales services, in order to achieve high-value products, services or business outcomes, including improved responses to market demands.  Also includes businesses that supply integral services, technologies or inputs to the manufacturing processes of businesses described above

·         Food and Agribusiness – businesses that undertake food or beverage production, or supply integral services or technologies to support food or beverage production. Also includes businesses that provide integral services, technologies or inputs to support primary production of food and beverages.  Excludes food retailers, restaurants or primary producers, except where they can demonstrate they also substantially undertake the above activities.

·         Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals – businesses that develop or produce therapeutic, medical or pharmaceutical products or technologies, including complementary medicines.  Businesses that provide integral services, technologies or inputs to the development and production of therapeutic, medical or pharmaceutical products or technologies.  Excludes businesses that are hospitals, medical and other health care services, residential care services, social assistance services and retailers of medical and pharmaceutical goods, except where they can demonstrate they also substantially undertake the above activities.

·         Mining Equipment, Technology and Services – businesses in mineral exploration, extraction and mining supply chains, including businesses that provide integral services, technologies and equipment for mining and minerals extraction

·         Oil, Gas and Energy Resources – businesses engaged in the exploration, development and extraction of energy and fuels from oil, gas, coal and uranium. Businesses that provide integral services, technologies and equipment for use in oil, gas and energy resource sectors

*Enabling or supporting technologies, inputs or services to drive business growth or improve business competitiveness e.g. freight and logistics; infrastructure related construction and services; information and communications technologies; digital technologies; and professional services. Other businesses that enable or support one of the five Growth Sectors through a direct commercial relationship, but excludes routine business operational activities such as legal advice, financial accounting/bookkeeping services, catering and insurance

Resources:-

Factsheet

Customer Information Guide

Entrepreneurs’ Program Frequently Asked Questions

Gerry Frittmann 

Managing Director 

Mob: 0413 647 664

gerry@tcf.net.au

NSW Head Office

Tel: (02) 8219 4900

Email: info@tcf.net.au

PO Box 111, Rosebery NSW 1445

VIC Office

Tel: (03) 9629 7772

Email: info@tcf.net.au

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