Researchers around the world looking to work with Australian businesses should find it easier to do so with the announcement of a new fund by the Australian Government.

The bridging grants component of the Global Connections Fund encourages eligible businesses and researchers work together to gain a competitive edge in the global market place.

082916-researcherAccording to Greg Hunt, minister for industry, innovation and science, the grants will help existing small to medium sized Australian businesses work with researchers overseas, leveraging their academic expertise to help them compete on the international stage.

The grants will also help Australian researchers build strong relationships with international partners, which will lead to the translation of knowledge and intellectual property into market-ready products or services.

Bridging grants offer up to $50,000 in seed funding to help businesses and researchers undertake innovative projects with overseas partners to support commercialisation and proof of concept activities.

Bridging grants support activities such as product and service development activities, including technical development, compliance testing, proof of concept, product testing, validation, laboratory verification and certification.

It will also cover product or services design such as design work, prototyping, innovation design, manufacturing establishment, software development and beta testing for a specific application, and market testing and analysis such as supplying prototypes for testing and evaluation.

For example, the Global Connections Fund could support projects such as an Australian based researcher engaging with an SME in Asia to design and develop prototypes for environmentally and socially sustainable furniture.

Another example could be a local SME working with researchers in the US or Europe to develop innovative medical technology to improve the lives of victims of stroke and other human diseases.

Another option would be researchers and SMEs in Australia and overseas collaborating on carbon capture and storage technology that could be commercialised to reduce emissions for the energy sector.

Hunt said that the Global Connections Fund is a key internationally focussed measure of the Global Innovation Strategy, part of the Government's $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The Global Innovation Strategy also supports landing pads being established worldwide for market ready start-ups, and the Global Innovation Linkages programme, announced earlier this month.