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Funding to Fast-Track Bushfire Tech in NSW

Businesses in NSW that are trialling innovative, field-ready bushfire technologies can now apply for the second round of the NSW government’s Bushfire Technology Pilots Program. The NSW Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology stated that the AU$2.6 million program would provide grants of up to AU$250,000, to help innovators turbocharge their research into practical solutions that will improve bushfire detection, preparation, and response.

He noted that the government is investing in these technologies to ensure State continues to be a world leader in bushfire technology. As well as giving homegrown innovators the opportunity to assess their innovative technology, the program provides them with critical links to frontline services, so they can fast-track the adoption of new approaches.

This program demonstrates the NSW Government’s commitment to R&D, turning local research into new industries, which will create jobs, grow the economy, and help secure a brighter future for NSW.

The region’s Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience stated that the program builds on the success of the first round of funding, with five innovative ideas now being piloted. She said that the first round of grants included providing power to remote sites, real-time monitoring of fire conditions and data-sharing.

She said that by their very nature bushfires are difficult to control and very dangerous, which is why the region needs to invest in new technology to innovate the state’s firefighting response to better protect communities from future natural disasters. The Minister added that she looks forward to seeing what innovations come through next to complement the incredible work of our emergency service organisations.

Earlier this year, OpenGov Asia reported on the NSW Government’s Bushfire Response R&D Mission which aims to promote new and emerging industries and technology to better prepare the state for future bushfires.

The BRM has four objectives:

  1. Supporting an ecosystem of bushfire technology companies, connected with NSW researchers. This will leverage the skills, expertise, and networks in existing NSW innovation networks in Smart Sensing and Defence, providing seed funding for key projects to apply technologies to bushfire challenges, and serve as the focus for attracting Commonwealth funding to NSW.
  2. Establishing an early-stage Bushfire Commercialisation Fund (BCF) to enable Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to develop and commercialise products related to bushfire technologies. This will be developed along the lines of successful models adopted for the Medical Devices Fund (MDF) and Physical Sciences Fund (PSF). These funds have been essential in scaling businesses to attract investment by private capital and helping to build SME capability in key industry sectors.
  3. Supporting a Technology Delivery Process to enable both existing commercial and innovative technologies to be fielded and evaluated by frontline NSW bushfire services. This is essential both in understanding what will work, familiarising end-users with what is possible, and providing a key customer reference point for companies to build opportunities. This is the Bushfire Technology Pilots Program.
  4. Supporting a Program of STEM Outreach and Engagement with communities, providing education and skills training for school children focused on technologies of immediate relevance to bushfire response, to inspire and enable a new generation of technologists.

Under a new NSW Government program, NSW is working to push forward its place as a world leader in bushfire technology commercialisation and position itself for the international export of innovative bushfire solutions. NSW’s Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology stated that the Bushfire Commercialisation Fund will help innovators translate their innovative research into practical solutions that will improve bushfire detection, preparation and response.

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