Australia-based small to medium-sized enterprises in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sectors are being encouraged to innovate and develop solutions that will be supported by CSIRO.
Through the Innovate to Grow program, SMEs that are in the early stages of engaging in research and development or pursuing a new idea in the mining/METS space can partake in a 10-week online program where experienced researchers and innovation experts 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 program, participants may be able to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally. They may also be eligible for dollar-matched R&D funding.
“The Innovate to Grow program is aimed at Australian companies with less than 200 employees, and currently is offered at no cost to participants,” Monika Szabo, SME collaboration manager for CSIRO, said in a media statement. “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 preparing a funding proposal.”
Szabo noted that API Management, which manages the Australian Premium Iron Joint Venture, went through the Innovate to Grow program in 2021.
“The mining industry has big challenges, with lots of elements that need to come together, and the CSIRO training is playing a key part for our research and development goals,” Alan Ooi, principal scientist at API Management, said.
Ooi pointed out that, following its participation in Innovate to Grow, API Management has gone on to do a mineral processing project on potassium recovery with CSIRO through Innovation Connections, another program that assists SMEs to fast-track R&D projects with research and funding.