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CSIRO Launches Cyber Security R&D programme

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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 program, offered by CSIRO, to support their idea with research and development expertise. Upon completion of the program, participants will be able to access support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.

CSIRO’s Data 61 Group Leader stated that cyber security attacks were a growing threat across the world impacting many different types of sectors. He noted that cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to carry out cyber-attacks, which can have devastating impacts on companies and consumers. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, there was an annual increase of 13% in reports of cybercrime in the 2020-21 financial year.

CSIRO’s SME Connect Deputy Director said to stay ahead of these, new solutions are required – much of which can be driven by SMEs – who make up 99.8 per cent of all businesses in Australia – developing new cyber products and services powered by R&D. However, R&D can be an expensive undertaking for businesses and risky for those without the right guidance and support.

Through the Innovate to Grow program, participants are invited to come up with a specific cybersecurity commercial idea they are looking to explore. Over 10 weeks, businesses will be stepped through how to refine their idea, understand its research viability and begin engaging a university or research institution to deliver a collaborative R&D project.

Research released by CSIRO in 2021 found that despite collaboration being key to driving strong R&D outcomes, less than 15% of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions for their innovation activities. CSIRO aims to boost this percentage.

Businesses can also tap into CSIRO’s own cyber security expertise through Data61, CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm, and be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts, and work with an R&D mentor.

The Operations Project Manager of a company that helps make enterprise-level cybersecurity both affordable and accessible to Australian SMEs, completed the Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security program earlier this year and said that it was, essentially, the company’s first opportunity to pursue formal R&D as they are young – just under two years in operation.

The programme appealed to them as it granted exposure to academics and NGOs in the security space, along with the associated benefit of learning from their industry expertise. And finding out about how we could access potential funding opportunities.

Eligible companies can be working directly in cyber security or 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. CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security program, commences on 1 December and is available for 20-25 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The global cyber security market was valued at US$139.77 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from US$155.83 billion in 2022 to US$376.32 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 13.4% during the forecast period. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the security solution sector experience a higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. The global market exhibited a rise of 7.7% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

OpenGov Asia reported on CSIRO’s role in sustainability and ecology. CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, recently announced a new DNA reference library which is set to transform how Australia monitors biodiversity along with the library’s first campaign which is supported by founding partner, Minderoo Foundation.

The National Biodiversity DNA Library (NBDL) aims to create a complete collection of DNA reference sequences for all known Australian animal and plant species. Just like COVID wastewater testing, it will enable DNA detected in the environment to be assigned to the species to which it belongs.

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