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A researcher at Charles Sturt University working to create environmentally sustainable solutions for the Murray-Darling Basin is among the first recipients of a commercialisation grant from the government’s Global Connections Fund.

The Fund provides priming grants and bridging grants to researchers collaborating with small to medium enterprises internationally and vice versa, designed to increase Australia’s business links with key global economies, promote engagement and a knowledge transfer between researchers and industry, and encourage end use development and commercialisation outcomes.

Fourteen Australian researchers and companies collaborating working with others in countries including China, Italy, India, Spain, the US, and the Czech Republic have been awarded grants ranging from $35,000 to $50,000, totalling just over $660,000.

The projects being worked on relate to the government’s Industry Growth Centres of advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, mining equipment, technology and services, and oil, gas and energy resources.

Among those receiving funding in this round is Circa Group, working with a French researcher on ‘cream of the crop’, a new dairy flavouring, while a researcher at RMIT University is working with Italian business on using magnetic waste product from mining operations as a crack-healing promoter in roads.

A collaboration between Australia and India is seeing the development of an eco-friendly control for powdery mildew and downy mildew, two diseases affecting grapes in both countries, while a partnership with a US group is working on the development of a system to assess the progress of victims of spinal cord injury and other neuromuscular conditions as they undergo rehabilitation.

The Global Connections Fund, a part of the Global Innovation Strategy, will distribute $4.9 million in funding over four years to support collaborations between Australians and overseas partners.

A $36 million plan funded through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Global Innovation Strategy also incorporates the five global landing pads; the Global Innovation Linkages programme, helping Australian organisations undertake R&D with international partners in ‘key economies’; and the Regional Collaborations Programme, encouraging research organisations, universities, and ‘R&D intensive businesses’ to collaborate on new products with partners in the Asia Pacific.

With $3.2 million invested across four years, the programme looks to help fund activities that facilitate greater collaboration in science, research, and innovation to address regionally and nationally significant issues, from food and energy security, ageing populations, biosecurity, disaster resilience, and environmental threats.

The Global Connections Fund has created a database through which Australian SMEs can create a profile to more easily allow international researchers to find them. You can learn more here.

Image: Minister for Innovation, Greg Hunt. Source: abc.net.au

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