Manufacturing News

CSIRO opens way to R&D for mining sector SMEs

Manufacturing News

The CSIRO is offering a free online course for research and development (R&D) expertise and support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

Eligible SMEs that are in the early stages of engaging in R&D or pursuing a new idea in the sector can apply to join a a 10-week online programme, Innovate to Grow.

Here researchers and innovation experts will guide participants as they examine their technical or business challenges, explore R&D opportunities, and develop actionable business and funding plans.

Upon completion of the programme, participants may be able to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally, and may be eligible for dollar-matched R&D funding.

SME Collaboration Manager for CSIRO, Monika Szabo said the Innovate to Grow programme was designed to help small-medium businesses understand how to engage in R&D by showing them pathways to access funding, mentoring, and a highly connected network through research organisations and their own sector.

Dr Szabo said: “The Innovate to Grow program is aimed at Australian companies with less than 200 employees, and currently is offered at no cost to participants.

“In doing so we hope to remove some of the barriers that smaller enterprises face when they have an idea they would like to pursue.

“At the completion of the program participants will have received assistance in defining their goals, developing a business case for R&D from a university or CSIRO, and even prepare a funding proposal.

“Their professional networks will also receive a boost as they will connect with peers in their cohort, sector-specific mentors, and with CSIRO, which has the largest mineral resources R&D capability in the world.”

API Management, which manages Australian Premium Iron Joint Venture, was one company that went through the Innovate to Grow program in 2021.

Principal Scientist at API Management, Alan Ooi said it was a way to refresh their current knowledge of engaging with research organisations, available funding options, and how to prepare for partnering with the CSIRO or other universities.

Dr Ooi said: “The mining industry has big challenges, with lots of elements that need to come together, and the CSIRO are playing a key part for our research and development goals.

“We would whole-heartedly recommend the Innovate to Grow program to other mining/METs companies, especially to help them gain R&D direction for their business opportunities.”

API Management has since run a mineral processing research project on potassium recovery with CSIRO through Innovation Connections, another programme delivered by CSIRO that assists SMEs to fast-track R&D projects with research and funding.

CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Mining/METS programme begins Monday 9 March and is available for 20-25 SMEs.

Picture: CSIRO

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