Industrial pioneers get $20m to turn science into jobs

Australia's industrial pioneers will benefit from a $20 million lifeline that extends federal support through the national science agency.

"With today’s announcement, up to 750 more small businesses will get their chance to work with CSIRO to commercialise their ideas," Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic said on Wednesday.

Alongside CSIRO's chief executive Doug Hilton, Mr Husic announced the funding injection for practical programs that support small to medium (SME) enterprises.

Some 50 or 60 enterprises stand to benefit each year across energy, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, digital health and medical technology.

Six hundred are also expected to sign up for a free online 10-week Innovate to Grow program to figure out how to take their ideas to the next level.

"We’re a pro-industry, pro-manufacturing, pro-jobs government which is really important for making these sorts of investments," Mr Husic said at climate tech startup Goterra.

Industry Minister Ed Husic
Ed Husic says small businesses will be able to work with CSIRO to commercialise their ideas.

Canberra-based Goterra uses insect farms and industrial robotics to convert food waste into sustainable protein and fertiliser.

Goterra founder Olympia Yarger even had the Australian soldier fly Hermetia olympiae named after her while working with CSIRO on harnessing larvae to process food waste and reduce greenhouse gases.

The national science agency's flagship program, CSIRO Kick-Start, has supported more than 280 company-led research and development projects since 2017, which have grown to be worth more than $2 billion.

Signage at the CSIRO
The CSIRO has been granted $20m to support innovative companies with their development.

To ensure the program supports more established SMEs as well as startups, the enterprise turnover limit has been increased to $10 million from $1.5 million.

"We're flexible in where we support companies in their development," Simon Hansen, director of CSIRO's SME Connect program, told AAP.

"We wanted to provide confidence and certainty to the sector that there is a commitment that is going to see us actively supporting the sector until 2028," he said.

With the annual global requirement for protein in 2050 to be almost double today's consumption, Australian-grown lupin, soy or faba beans could be turned into biofuels or used in new products for climate-savvy consumers.

For example, Horsham-based Australian Plant Proteins in Victoria is turning faba beans, grown to give fields a rest, into protein powders.

"We helped them demonstrate the extraction of protein from the faba bean and set up a decent-sized manufacturing facility," Mr Hansen said.

SMEs employ more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the private sector workforce and contribute more than half of Australia's GDP.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store