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CSIRO’s Support to SMEs Working in Cyber Security

Image Credits: CSIRO, Press Release

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is helping to tackle the growing threat of cyber-attacks facing Australia by providing free research and development support to businesses working in the cyber security sector.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working on new cyber security solutions can join the free, 10-week online Innovate to Grow programme, offered by CSIRO, to support their commercial idea with research and development expertise. Upon completion of the programme, participants will be able to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.

The SME Collaboration Lead at CSIRO stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to an increased risk of cyber security attacks. He noted that as in 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.

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, there was an annual increase of 13 per cent of cybercrime reports in the 2020-21 financial year. To stay ahead of these cyberattacks, new solutions are required, and much of this is driven by SMEs developing new products and services through R&D. SMEs make up 99.8 per cent of all businesses in Australia. However, R&D can be an expensive undertaking for businesses and risky for those without the right guidance and support.

The programme extends beyond cyber security companies into a range of other industries that offer online solutions to their customers – such as agriculture and health – and want to improve the cyber security aspect of their offering.

Participants will receive 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. Companies will also tap into CSIRO’s own cyber security expertise through Data61, CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm.

While collaboration is crucial in driving good R&D outcomes, research that was released in 2021 found that less than 15 per cent of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions for their innovation activities – this programme is to up that percentage.

CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security programme, commences on 26 July and is available for 20-25 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The Innovate to Grow programme is a self-paced and virtually-delivered programme to boost the innovation performance of SMEs in high-priority sectors.

The course will provide tools and information to help businesses better understand what’s involved with R&D and key things they will need to consider at each step of the process. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge to advance their innovation journey. They will also be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts and work with a sector or R&D mentor. Throughout the course, participants will also work alongside other like-minded SMEs and build networks.

This programme is perfect for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) currently working in cyber security who are either:

  • interested in progressing their research and development (R&D) opportunities
  • are in the early decision-making stages about engaging in an R&D project with a research organisation but are not quite sure where to start.

As part of Innovate to Grow, participants will be exposed to research and development opportunities, industry knowledge, and will hear from innovation and industry experts and work with a sector or R&D mentor.

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