CSIRO launches SME program to boost R&D knowledge in defence

Image credit: CSIRO

Australia’s national science agency CSRIO is encouraging Victorian small to medium-sized enterprises to apply for a free research and development (R&D) program that would support their sovereign defence and security innovations. 

Backed by the Defence Science Institute, CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Defence Victoria program is a free 10-week virtual workshop that will support Victorian businesses in pursuing R&D opportunities in defence. 

George Feast, deputy director of CSIRO’s SME Connect, said the program seeks to make R&D opportunities less daunting for SMEs to navigate and empower them to pursue R&D with a research institution. 

“Even though we know R&D underpins innovation, it can be an expensive undertaking for businesses, as well as being risky and time-consuming for those without the right guidance and support,” Feast said. 

Through the program, businesses will be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and defence experts and work closely with an R&D mentor. 

“We know collaboration leads to much better results for businesses, however research we released last year found that less than 15 per cent of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions when they are thinking of exploring new innovation opportunities – our goal is to up that percentage,” Feast added. 

Upon completion of the program, participants will be able to access facilitation support through CSIRO to connect with research expertise across Australia. They will also receive funding to support R&D initiatives. 

“Businesses will receive help to refine a specific idea and learn about how to partner with a research organisation, as well as build connections and opportunities with other businesses in the program,” Feast noted. 

All Victorian SMEs have until 3 October to apply for the Innovate to Grow: Defence Victoria program. 

The workshop, jointly funded by the Defence Science Institute, is slated to commence on 17 October.