Biomedical research and smart industry win major funding

Australian biomedical research and businesses that utilise in-house research will receive a major boost thanks to $17.9 million in funding from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, for two major...

Australian biomedical research and businesses that utilise in-house research will receive a major boost thanks to $17.9 million in funding from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, for two major collaborative efforts that will connect SMEs with researchers, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced in Melbourne this week.

The first brings together CSIRO, Monash University and 20 industry players in a consortia worth approximately $46m to focus on developing biomedical products from the bench to prototype, and through industry partners to market.

The Biomedical Materials Transformation Facility will be led by Monash University and CSIRO based at their joint Clayton precinct in Melbourne with partners MIMR-PHI and ANSTO.

The SIEF investment has leveraged $10 million respectively from CSIRO and Monash, and the rest invested from emerging industry partners, and has a particular focus on the ‘3Ds’ – materials and IP for delivery, diagnostics and devices - applied to the diagnosis and treatment of key chronic diseases – cardiovascular, cancer and ophthalmic diseases.

The Clayton precinct is developing as a manufacturing centre for the future and area of strength for Australia.

“This is a major collaborative effort between CSIRO, Monash and 20 emerging industry players and will build on Australia’s global competitiveness,” CSIRO Chief Executive and Science and Industry Endowment Fund Trustee Dr Megan Clark said.

“The innovation led by this facility will foster rapid progress in materials and biomedical sciences and assist in commercialising the next generation of medical devices, diagnostics and cell therapies,” Monash University’s Professor Ian Smith, Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure) said.

Minister Macfarlane also announced a further $7.9 million over five years for a SIEF STEM+ Business Fellowship Program, which places science, technology, engineering and mathematics early career researchers as researchers-in-residence in Australian business and industry.

The program aims to build deeper connections and collaboration between researchers and SMEs, accelerating the adoption of new ideas and technology, and helping SMEs grow into larger and more profitable organisations. It will also create a cohort of developing researchers capable of addressing national challenges.

With co-investment from participating organisations this program has the capacity to deliver $17 million of research projects with Australian SMEs.

“Companies such as Anatomics, Textor and Universal Biosensors have seen the benefit of having researchers embedded in their business and we look forward to building on these successes and delivering similar benefits to other companies,” Dr Clark said.

SIEF has asked CSIRO to run this program through its SME Engagement Centre, drawing on the Centre’s experience and depth of engagement with Australian SMEs.

These project are fully aligned with and support Minister Macfarlane and the Prime Minister’s call for research and industry to work closely together for the future of Australia.

The monies have been awarded from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), founded in 1926 to fund innovation in Australian research. SIEF was reinvigorated with a $150 million gift in 2009 from CSIRO out of the proceeds of fast wireless LAN licensing.