$10 million funding for defence-focused SMEs

By on 29 November, 2017

An Australian Heron remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). Image by H. Peterswald via Wikimedia Commons.

The federal government has announced it will invest $10 million over the next decade to develop startups and SMEs focused on defence innovation and research.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced the $10 million initiative, called the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD) will be tapped from the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) to build Australia’s Defence capability.

Many defence-driven technologies and services ultimately proliferate into commercial markets, such as Adelaide-based machine intelligence firm Consilium’s highly advanced spatial analytical services leveraging DigitalGlobe-sourced staellite imagery.

“The focus of this new program is to get our small and medium size companies quickly off the starting block so Defence can capitalise on their expansive potential for innovation and research capabilities,” Minister Pyne said, announcing the initiative on November 21.

“Australia’s small business sector has a wealth of talent and energy and this program is designed to draw out the best ideas to support our Defence capability.”

The two-stage program will provide an initial funding round of $100,000 to research potential Defence technology over a six to nine month period. The second stage of the technology will be tested against the Defence application, with funding of up to $750,000 over one to two years, and SMEs will be required to address future Defence problems aligned with the priority areas in the NGTF.

Minister Pyne said he strongly encouraged SMEs to take advantage of this dedicated program and contribute to the development of game changing capabilities.

“SMEs can access other funding opportunities under the Next Generation Technologies Fund and the Defence Innovation Hub—a win-win for small business,” Minister Pyne said.

Together with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, the Next Generation Technologies Fund and Defence Innovation Hub are part of the government’s $1.6 billion investment in building the capacity and capability of Australia’s defence industry and innovation sector, to deliver Defence capability.

Read more about the SBIRD initiative at www.business.gov.au/cdic

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