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Fostering Research and Innovation

Support for small business

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme (EP) provides access to a national network of more than 100 experienced private sector Advisers and Facilitators. The programme helps businesses improve their productivity and competitiveness.

The Government has increased accessibility to EP for businesses operating in northern Australia and has extended EP services to eligible northern Australia businesses in the tourism sector. More information is available at www.business.gov.au.

A Tropical Health Strategy for Northern Australia

The White Paper includes a commitment to developing a Tropical Health Strategy to protect Australia from increased risks of disease, while commercialising Australian tropical disease research and development. This Strategy will have multiple components outlined below.

Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Programme (NATDCRP)

The NATDCRP is a $2 million programme which supports innovative high quality research into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tropical disease, build strong collaborations and capacity in the health and medical research workforce, and promote effective translation of this research into health policy and practice.

The programme will be administered through the National Health and Medical Research Council under the direction of a Scientific Advisory Panel including scientific experts, health policy officials, health practitioners and consumers.

Key components of the Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Programme are:

  • building new research capability (including scholarships and fellowships) under the coordination of a high quality research leadership team;

  • focusing research on tropical diseases with a high potential impact on health in Australia and the region; and

  • promoting accelerated transfer of research outcomes into health policy and practice, identifying opportunities for commercialising new health-related technologies and other innovations in Northern Australia and internationally.

Further information on the programme can be found at: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au

Australian Tropical Medicine Commercialisation Grants programme (ATMC)

The ATMC is a $8.5 million programme designed to assist Australian research institutions and biotech companies to attract foreign investment into their development of new therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics for tropical diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and tuberculosis.

The programme opened for applications on 25 November 2015 and closed on 19 February 2016.

Funding will be awarded to projects which:

  • Increase foreign investment into the commercialisation of Australian tropical medicine research and development (R&D);

  • Lift Australia’s position in the global supply chain; and

  • Create opportunities for Australian researchers and businesses to access Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to translate Australian tropical medicine R&D into commercialisation and clinical outcomes.

Eligible projects will include Proof-of-Concept (POC) activities that will generate data to demonstrate the technical or commercial application of the research or technology.

Further information on the programme can be found at: http://www.austrade.gov.au/

Building links between world-class institutions researching tropical health

This measure builds on Australia’s existing investments and strategic priorities in tropical health, health system strengthening, and regional health security, and complements the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Health for Development Strategy 2015-2020.

This initiative will facilitate collaboration between Australian, regional and international research institutions and partners on tropical health issues which pose a trans-boundary threat in Australia’s region. Highest priority disease threats are those that cross borders and potentially affect whole populations and include malaria, tuberculosis, dengue and animal-to-human influenzas.

Tropical Health Short Course for Indonesian Professionals

In 2016 two short courses on “Malaria Prevention and Treatment for Infants, Children and Pregnant Women in Eastern Indonesia”, are being delivered for 50 Indonesian professionals. Further courses will be delivered in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

These courses are part of the commitment to transform northern Australia into a centre of excellence for tropical medicine research.  They will also stimulate new business and investment opportunities and increase international student enrolments. These courses will bring together various stakeholders working in the area of tropical health and equip them with the knowledge and skills to be better able to respond to malaria through strengthened malaria prevention and treatment strategies.

A CRC for Developing Northern Australia

The White paper included the establishment of a $75 million Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Developing Northern Australia.

The CRC will assist businesses, governments and researchers to work together to identify opportunities for business and growth in the north. The CRC will be industry led, located in the north, and have an initial focus on areas where the north has particular strengths, including agriculture, food and tropical health.

Further information on the programme can be found at: http://www.business.gov.au/