The Australian Government is offering grant funding to help Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and researchers work with international partners to develop innovative products and services.

The second round of the priming grants component of the Global Connections Fund (GCF) opened on 3 February. The $4.9m GCF is part of the Global Innovation Strategy of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, and supports global SME-to-researcher collaborations. The priming grants of $7,000 enable Australian SMEs and researchers to meet and collaborate with international partners to progress their ideas.

“Linking Australian SMEs with international researchers, and Australian researchers with international SMEs, allows greater international industry-researcher engagement, enabling access to world-class expertise, infrastructure and the global market,” said Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO.

The GCF comprises of two types of grants: priming grants, and bridging grants. In 2016 the Government awarded more than $1.1m in grants under the two components. Under round one of the priming grants, 74 Australian SMEs and researchers received assistance to develop products and services for Australian and international markets.

Bridging grants of up to $50,000 are designed as seed funding capital to enable viable projects to grow in scope and scale, and to test commercialisation and proof-of-concept activities. There were 14 projects awarded in the first round of bridging grants. The second round opens later this year.