Innovation Connections

Innovation Connections is part of the Federal Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme that dovetails with the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The program helps build collaboration between eligible Australian businesses and the research sector.

Many industry-led collaborations between researchers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are driving business growth and new ideas by bringing new research knowledge to business. AusIndustry Innovation Facilitator Gary Colquhoun supports more than 25 Australian SMEs each year to identify opportunities for research collaboration.

Innovation Facilitators like Colquhoun help identify critical and strategic research needs within Australian businesses. Innovation Connections Grants then provide matched support for collaborative research projects. The collaborative initiative allows publicly funded researchers to be placed onto those projects for the business and/or business researchers placed into publicly funded research organisations.

After identifying potential partnerships and inviting SMEs to determine new ideas with commercial potential, Colquhoun manages their interaction with Australian research organisations to develop new products, processes or services through collaborative research.

“Research is helping small to medium businesses address their knowledge gaps in all kinds of ways, driving business innovation and creating a positive impact on the economy,” said Colquhoun.

“For example 3D imaging and data analytics are now transforming the tailoring industry in the company Tailors Mark.”

Colquhoun says that successful collaboration is founded on concise communication, managing expectations and respecting the needs of each party. These aspects of collaboration are ultimately aimed at aligning the business objectives to those of a research team.

“Getting everything on the table up front is key to ensuring there are no surprises for a business partner. Our process helps each party come together as a partnership with a shared vision for the project activities from the budget and deliverables to risks and any commercial Intellectual Property Rights.”

Colquhoun shared his experience of working with researchers and industry as an Innovation Facilitator at the recent Commercialising research forum held at Sydney School of Entrepreneurship as part of the Spark Festival. Read more at Research Futures

Learn more about Innovation Connections