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While the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) may no longer seem to be on the top of the Federal Government’s priority list, it is in fact still kicking along, with the Regional Collaborations Programme the latest initiative to be unveiled, looking to encourage 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.

Minister for Innovation, Greg Hunt, said, “Engagement between Australian industry and researchers and leaders in the Asia Pacific region will help improve the skill set of local workers and the capabilities of Australian businesses, presenting new opportunities for investment and growth.

Projects funded through the programme must include matched external funding. They may be single year or multi-year collaborative, multi-partner projects: an Australian organisation must link up with teams from at least two other markets, with the goal to build “strong international linkages” within the Asia Pacific.

Administered by the Australian Academy of Science, the Regional Collaborations Programme is part of the Global Innovation Strategy, a $36 million plan funded through NISA.

Also part of the Global Innovation Strategy are the five global landing pads; the Global Innovation Linkages programme, helping Australian organisations undertake R&D with international partners in ‘key economies’; and the Global Connections Fund, giving Australian SMEs seed funding to work with international researchers.

The launch of the Programme comes as just the latest initiative encouraging Australian businesses to do business in Asia.

As well as the government’s landing pads in Singapore and Shanghai, Sydney coworking community Fishburners in August announced its expansion into Shanghai, while fintech hub Stone and Chalk launched its Fintech Asia incubation exchange program.

As part of the program, three Chinese startups were in August welcomed to spend three months at Stone and Chalk, with CEO Alex Scandurra saying the program aims to spur collaboration by “creating a fintech super-highway” across Asia.

Also looking to help connect Australians to Asia is Haymarket HQ, the recently launched coworking space in Sydney focused on facilitating the growth of startups into Asia, while Innovation Dojo, a program launched out of UNSW Innovations, looks to spur collaboration across Australia and Japan.

The government is also encouraging younger Australians to consider business in Asia through the New Colombo Plan, an exchange program allowing undergraduate university students to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region.

Image: Greg Hunt. Source: abc.net.au

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