Tackling complex challenges with technology

23 November 2022

NSW businesses seeking to commercialise their innovative ideas can now help tackle some of the State’s most complex challenges through the second round of the NSW Government’s Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program.
 
As part of the program, NSW Government agencies outline specific problem areas that need to be addressed, with small business given the opportunity to propose solutions.
 
Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the $12 million program would provide small businesses with grants of up to $100,000 as part of the first phase, to work alongside government and undertake feasibility studies into their proposed solutions.
 
“This program is about leveraging our incredible local businesses to improve social, environmental, health and economic outcomes while also creating high-value jobs, which will help grow the economy and secure a brighter future for NSW,” Mr Henskens said.
 
“The SBIR program has already seen 10 exciting new technologies, addressing a wide range of issues, progress to a proof-of-concept phase. This next round of the program will deliver more solutions and outcomes for our community.”
 
Challenge areas outlined for round two of the program include:
 

  • Biosecurity Surveillance Challenge – NSW Department of Primary Industries is seeking innovative technology solutions that leverage the power of citizen surveillance to more accurately identify and validate threats to the biosecurity of primary industries and the environment in NSW.
  • School Zones Alerting System Challenge – Transport for NSW is seeking innovative solutions to improve the existing School Zones Alerting System to further improve road safety around schools.
  • Vital Sign Monitoring Challenge – Corrective Services NSW is seeking non-invasive technology solutions to monitor the vital health signs of inmates while in their cells. This technology will be used to monitor ‘at-risk’ inmates and help prevent inmates committing self-harm, which could result in suicide.
  • Recycled Content Verification Challenge – The Office of Energy and Climate Change is seeking a solution that could trace and verify recycled material to help NSW Government agencies procure local recycled products.
  • Waste Recovery and Management Challenge – NSW Health is seeking resource recovery technologies and waste management solutions that: offer an innovative design for new facilities; redesign and reconfigure existing facilities; and uncover ways of modernising our waste collection and processing systems separation and collection of waste that can be implemented across NSW Health.
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Services Challenge – NSW Health is seeking Artificial Intelligence powered solutions to support the delivery of health services to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities. 
  • Urban Heat Island Challenge – the Greater Cities Commission is seeking innovative solutions that could be trialled at the Westmead Health and Innovation District to mitigate urban heat island effects and/or improve the resilience of our systems in response to extreme heat events.

 
Minister for Small Business Victor Dominello said the program is harnessing the power of local innovation and supporting small businesses by investing in ideas to grow high-tech industries now and into the future. 
 
“Small businesses are a vital pillar of our economy, and this funding will help many SMEs to realise their potential and make the difficult leap from great ideas to commercial products and services that meet critical needs,” Mr Dominello said. 
 
Proof-of-concept grants will be available to businesses that complete a successful feasibility study. Full details of the program and how to apply can be found online.

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