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Commonwealth funding of $15.7m for 18 SA R&D projects.



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COMMONWEALTH FUNDING OF $15.7 MILLION FOR 18 SA R&D PROJECTS 25 January 2001

25 January 2001           01/023 

COMMONWEALTH FUNDING OF $15.7m FOR 18 SA R&D PROJECTS  The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin today announced that the Commonwealth Government has funded 18 innovative projects worth almost $15.7 million in South Australia under AusIndustry's R&D Start Program in the first six months of this financial year. 

Senator Minchin said the Government's support for innovation in South Australia was indicative of the strong research that was being undertaken in the State. 

"The Commonwealth Government's Industry Research and Development Board has awarded grants and loan for projects that, when commercialised, will make a significant contribution to the State and Australian economies," Senator Minchin said.  

"It is particularly pleasing to see the diversity in innovation in the projects that have been successful in applying for funding. There is R&D support for, among others, designing coloured bottles for the wine industry; a multi-purpose soil probe to help in the fight against salinity; a sewage filtration system; road-n-rail equipment, and an apple-chip drier. 

"Nationally, 125 projects, totalling almost $100 million were funded ranging from a low of $65,000 to as much as $4.9 million, in most of Australia's key industry sectors. 

"It is encouraging to see businesses making use of the measures provided by the Commonwealth.

Support from business is good but the Government would like to see even more businesses being innovative, undertaking R&D and commercialising their research efforts. 

"The Government is committed to supporting innovation and R&D because they are key drivers of economic growth and a major factor in Australian firms' international competitiveness. 

"Next week the Government will announce its Innovation Action Plan, which

will boost R&D and provide a better environment for industry and researchers to commercialise their good ideas. 

"The Plan is a culmination of extensive consultation with industry and the research community, and thorough consideration of the Innovation Summit Implementation Group report, Innovation - Unlocking the Future and the Chief Scientist's report The Chance to Change." 

In the last financial year, the IR&D Board approved $177 million for 219 projects nationally under its R&D Start Program (grants and loans). With company contributions, this resulted in R&D activities of more than $350 million. Total funding for the Program is almost $1 billion over eight years from 1998-99. 

"The Board estimates that the level of R&D supported in Australia by both Government and business is now approaching the $4.5 billion mark," Senator Minchin said. 

A summary of three projects is attached. A full list of the projects which received funding from 1 July to 31 Decembert 2000 can be seen at www.ausindustry.gov.au together with details on R&D Start and other AusIndustry products. Further information is also available on the AusIndustry Business Hotline on 132 846. 

Contact:  Carolyn Coleman , Senator Minchin's office, 08 8237 7190

                   Chris Butler, AusIndustry, 02 6213 7324 

CMR021-01

  Air-Ride-R&D Start grant $1.8 million 

In 1999 Air-Ride received its grant to develop a new high-strength, lightweight, monocoque 'curtain-side' trailer and a new fail-safe, positive-locking Road-n-Rail coupling system that allows trailers to be towed by both semi-trailers and rail wagons without the need for the goods to be unloaded and reloaded. Previously, similar Road-n-Rail technology had to be sourced from the US and Air-Ride has already secured supply contracts projected to be worth $10 million over the next three years.

Recently Air-Ride was also awarded a further $1.8 million R&D Start grant to embark on the development of Polycom freight vans which are up to 30 per cent lighter and significantly stronger than anything in the world. Adelaide University and the Cooperative Research Centre for Advance Composite Structures will be working with Air-Ride to develop lighter, stronger materials. Both projects will reduce costs to Australia's freight haulage industry.  

Contact: Mike Burford, (08) 8447 1522  

* * * * 

Bottle Magic-R&D Start grant $1.5 million 

Adelaide bottle-coating company Bottle Magic received a grant to provide an alternative product and substitute for glass bottles which had previously been imported. The grant will help the company to be more cost effective and offer the potential to expand its export market. An initial grant of $1.7 million in

1997-98 enabled the company to take its polyurethane bottle-coating technology from the laboratory to the market.  

Bottle Magic's R&D involved the development of a unique method of washing, rinsing and coating bottles and a handling mechanism that allows a large range of bottles to be coated. The treatment developed by Bottle Magic involves polyurethane coatings which are rapidly cured to give the inert polymer an excellent glass adhesion. The application technique is so advanced that some coating finishes are almost indistinguishable from coloured glass bottles. 

Contact: Grant Kentish, (08) 8340 3232, mobile 0408 441 024  

* * * * * 

BresaGen Limited-R&D Start grant $4.9 million  

BresaGen will use its grant to seek a cure, through cell therapy, for debilitating human diseases including Parkinson's Disease and bone marrow disorders. If the research achieves its desired outcomes, it is expected to have significant consumer and social benefits due to the successful treatment of previously intractable and life-threatening diseases.  

Parkinson's Disease is one of the major diseases targeted by the Cell Therapy Program. The grant will assist BresaGen to establish proof of concept of cell therapy technology for Parkinson's Disease in an animal model. Stem cells and their derivatives will be used in pre-clinical studies to treat symptoms of Parkinson's Disease that can be induced in rats. The project will also test the therapeutic potential of blood cells derived from stem cells to treat diseases of the bone marrow. 

Contact: Dr John Smeaton (08) 8234 2660

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