38 researchers and SMEs get funding boosts from the Global Connections Fund

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, has announced 38 researchers and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are being boosted with $7000 Priming Grants, in the latest round of grants offered under the Global Connections Fund.

The grants help researchers and SMEs in the industry growth sectors of advanced manufacturing; food and agribusiness; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; oil, gas and energy; and mining equipment, technology and services to link with international partners and progress towards commercialisation.

Of the 38 recipients in round three, 23 grants will assist Australian researchers collaborate with overseas SMEs and 15 grants will help Australian SMEs link with international-based researchers and forge partnerships.

Since 2016–17, the Australian Government has provided 152 Priming Grants worth nearly $1.0 million, and now with the launch of Innovation Stories: Priming Grants 2016, researchers and SMEs can see what others have done with the financial support. See below for two of these inspiring stories.

Dr Naomi Mathers

As a board member of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and until recently an industry liaison engineer at ANU’s Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre, Dr Mathers is embedded in Australia’s space industry.

“Pretty much everything I do has been, and probably will continue to be, related to this: how do we take the fantastic research that’s being done in Australia and turn that into capability for industry?” Dr Mathers says. “Really what I do is connect the dots and make sure that research gets out of the university and to companies and governments, and gives people jobs.”

Dr Mathers used the funds she received from a Priming Grant to create a strategic partnership between ANU and Tyvak – a US company that provides nanosatellite and microsatellite vehicles and services.

With ANU’s instrumentation design expertise and Tyvak’s highly sophisticated satellite bus that opened up a global market, the partnership will link the two capabilities and produce instrumentation for a market.

Dr Mark Blaskovich

Dr Blaskovich, from The University of Queensland, is on the front line fighting to find a way to keep a potential pandemic at bay.

The medicinal chemist, who has more than 15 years’ experience in drug development, creates new antibiotics specifically designed to treat drug-resistant pathogens.

“What we’re trying to do is raise public awareness that this is an issue that people should be concerned about, because the potential danger down the road is real,” Dr Blaskovich says.

Dr Blaskovich used his Priming Grant to collaborate with Visterra Inc in Boston, USA. They explored the possibility to create a ‘guided missile’ – an antibody drug conjugate that works by targeting and then killing drug-resistant bacteria without harming human cells.

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