GRDC & Cicada Innovations in National Call for Deep Tech Innovators: Apply Your Solutions to Transform the Grains Industry

SYDNEY, April 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), in collaboration with Cicada Innovations, proudly launches the Grains Challenge. This pivotal national initiative seeks to mobilise the vast potential of deep tech across diverse sectors to address the urgent challenges facing the grains industry. Positioned as a leading global grain producer, Australia's role is pivotal not only for its economic impact but also for its commitment to advancing productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in agriculture.

In frame: Cicada Innovation's Head of Deep Technology, Hebbat Manhy

Australia's agrifood industry, valued at $87 billion, stands as an economic behemoth known for its high-quality produce and extensive global reach. Yet, beneath the surface of this success story lie significant challenges—ranging from unpredictable weather patterns to the ever-evolving demands of consumers—that signal a ripe opportunity for reinvention.

Tim Spencer, GRDC's Business Development Manager, highlights the program's ambition to propel startup ideas into actionable solutions for grain growers. "We are eager to attract groundbreaking tech from beyond the traditional agricultural sphere. Entrepreneurs, tech innovators, and creative thinkers across all areas of deep tech are invited to bring their fresh perspectives and novel solutions to the table," says Dr. Spencer.

Cicada Innovations stands at the forefront of deep tech development in Australia, with a legacy of transforming innovative startups into major global players. With trailblazers like Regrow, Converte, and Platypus Vision in its portfolio, Cicada exemplifies the transformative potential of deep tech in agriculture—from nano sensors and earth observations to biotech and robotic automation. These technologies are not just adjuncts but essential tools for achieving net-zero goals, driving plant innovation, and addressing critical issues in soil and water management.

Launching with 'Grains Elevate,' spearheaded by Cicada's Head of Technology, Hebbat Manhy, this program plans to welcome 80 pioneering participants over the next two years. 'Grains Elevate' offers startups an expedited path to market discovery within the grains industry. Designed expressly for deep tech ventures that promise to innovate agriculture, the initiative slashes the timeline from ideation to market entry.

Participants will have direct access to bespoke industry insights, an expansive and influential network, and strategic planning tools. These assets are curated to refine and fast-track the deployment of solutions that precisely meet the complex needs of the Australian grain sector. 'Our program places participants in an advantageous position, equipping them with the insights and connections needed to navigate the agtech landscape swiftly and effectively,' explains Hebbay Manhy.

The most promising projects will progress to the "Grains Fast Start" strategic coaching program, receiving specialised support to achieve commercial viability. Manhy encourages innovators from all backgrounds, especially those with expertise in other sectors but new to agtech, to apply. "This is a prime opportunity for deep tech entrepreneurs to explore the agricultural domain, applying their technologies to solve complex challenges faced by grain growers," she adds.

This partnership not only aims to empower the grains industry with innovative technologies but also highlights Cicada Innovations' dedication to driving sustainable agricultural advancements through deep tech collaboration.

To learn more about this unique opportunity and to express your interest, visit the Cicada Innovations website.

Cicada Innovations ( is Australia's leading deep tech incubator, founded in Sydney, with a 24-year track record of developing deep tech ventures that tackle some of the world's most pressing problems. Cicada's national incubators, commercialisation training, and community brings together the entrepreneurs, scientists, business leaders, and policymakers to solve complex challenges with deep tech like the future of human health, food security and the climate crisis. Cicada has seen an unprecedented $1.3 billion in exits from six deep tech ventures, and has helped over 400 companies raise more than $2.5 billion in funding. Named the 'Top Incubator in the World' by the International Business Innovation Association.

Grains Research Development Corporation ( is responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension (RD&E) for 25 leviable grain crops. GRDC invests in RD&E projects to deliver new and improved varieties, farming practices, technologies and capability to the Australian grains industry. GRDC's primary objective is to drive the discovery, development and delivery of world-class innovation to enhance the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Australian grain growers and benefit the industry and the wider community.

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