National science agency offers know-how to SMEs

By Melissa Coade

June 15, 2022

training course

The CSIRO is offering free 10-weeks of research & development training for SME staff who are responsible for providing new cybersecurity solutions.

The ‘Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security’ training will start on 26 July.

Dr George Feast, who leads the agency’s SME collaboration work, said the risk of cybersecurity attacks had increased following the COVID-19 pandemic. This view is backed by data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which shows annual cybercrime reports in 2020-21 increased by 13%.

“Just like many other parts of the world, Australia’s dependence on the internet saw a big increase during the pandemic, with many services moving online and more people working from home than ever before,” Dr Feast said.

“To stay ahead of these cyber attacks, new solutions are required, and much of this is driven by SMEs developing new products and services through R&D.”

While SMEs comprise an overwhelming majority of all businesses in Australia (99.8%), Feast noted the cost of R&D meant it was an expensive risk for this cohort without the right guidance and support. 

Last year the national science agency released research showing that less than 15% of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions for their innovation activities. 

The CSIRO hopes its 10-week training will boost the number of SMEs wanting to test their commercial idea and collaborate with more R&D groups. 

Up to 25 SME graduates of the training will be given a chance to connect with the CSIRO’s digital and data specialist arm Data61, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.

“Participants will be given help to refine a new idea they want to explore and to better understand their idea’s business and scientific viability. 

“They will also be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts, and work with an R&D mentor,” Feast said. 


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