$1 million innovation boost for advanced manufacturing



South Australian businesses can now apply for 'innovation vouchers' to support research and development in advanced manufacturing under a new $1 million State Government scheme.

Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister Tom Kenyon said the vouchers, each worth typically between $10,000 to $20,000, encourage closer links between small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research providers to develop new or enhanced products or to establish prototypes or new systems.

"Innovation vouchers will be awarded on a competitive basis, with SMEs being required to contribute towards the project based on their company's annual turnover," he said.

"These vouchers will support SMEs to collaborate with knowledge based institutions and are an effective means of building innovative capability within the sector.

"This initiative responds to Thinker-in-Residence Professor Göran Roos' recommendation that a voucher system be introduced to encourage engagement between SMEs and the research sector.

"SMEs will need to collaborate with research organisations to submit project proposals for the 'innovation vouchers' to solve problems for which there are currently no obvious solutions available.

"Our intention is that 'innovation vouchers' will be the catalyst for long-term relationships between South Australian businesses and research providers."

Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the innovation voucher scheme is one of several key initiatives to be delivered as part of the soon to be released manufacturing strategy for South Australia.

"This program and a range of other initiatives aim to support manufacturers to innovate and deliver high-value commercial outcomes," Mr Koutsantonis said.

"Closer collaboration between research and development will assist our home-grown firms to become more resilient in what is an increasingly demanding global market."

"To secure a long-term future, our manufacturing industry must compete internationally and deliver products and services that respond to changing customer demands," Mr Koutsantonis said.

"The $1 million voucher program supports the Government's priorities of growing advanced manufacturing, delivering the benefits of the mining boom to all South Australians and providing premium food and wine from our clean environment.

"Establishment of the Innovation Voucher Program also reaffirms this Government's commitment to fostering greater innovation and collaboration across the manufacturing sector."

The scheme is a joint initiative of the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology and the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy.

Further information on guidelines as well as application forms is available online from: www.dmitre.sa.gov.au/ivp and www.dfeest.sa.gov.au/ivp