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NSW launches new space industry grants programs

The state government has established its own Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, which is set to fund industry-research teaming project.

NSW launches new space industry grants programs
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NSW has become the first state to launch its own Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which aims to foster collaboration between industry and academia for the development of advanced telecommunications, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation data services.

The Node is expected to incentivise collaboration through three separate grant programs, designed to facilitate industry access to advanced equipment, laboratory space and research infrastructure within universities.

The government has invited applications for co-funding of up to $100,000 for projects exploring ways to address challenges in agriculture, mining and resources, defence and security, transport, and bushfires and disaster management.

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NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Node would help create jobs in a range of space sectors, including launch and support services, ground systems, and satellite technology.

“Supporting a thriving research ecosystem is just one part of our Space Industry Development Strategy, which will also help develop a fit-for-purpose workforce by closing the STEM skills gap and supporting the growth of innovation precincts,” Minister Ayres said.

“The technology innovations produced by the space industry have enormous impact here on earth, from using GPS on a smart phone to monitor bushfires to using artificial intelligence to reduce waste across all our industries.”

The SmartSat CRC was established in 2019 as part of the Commonwealth government’s $55 million Cooperative Research Centre program.

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Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews welcomed the NSW government’s participation in the program.

“This node will contribute to the Australian government’s goal to triple the size of the space sector to $12 billion and create an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030, and it will also complement the work of our $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, under which space is one of six priority areas,” Minister Andrews said.

SmartSat CRC CEO Professor Andy Koronios said the NSW space ecosystem would help drive commercialisation opportunities of space-related technologies.

“SmartSat is incredibly excited to be partnering with the NSW government in establishing this Node and augmenting other NSW initiatives to supercharge the NSW space innovation ecosystem,” Professor Koronios said.

“We are already working on a number of exception R&D projects that will develop space capabilities and build the commercialisation pathways within the state.”

The NSW-backed Node will be led by coordinator Dr Tim Parsons and based in Tech Central.

Dr Parsons is chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia and has experience supporting the growth of the space industry through his organisation Delta-V NewSpace Alliance.

“With 38 per cent of space start-ups based here, the majority of Australia’s angel and venture capital tech investors, as well as the headquarters of its largest companies, NSW is a fantastic home for Australia’s space industry,” Dr Parsons said.

“The NSW Node will strengthen the outcomes of the SmartSat CRC by enabling more start-ups and SMEs to participate.”

NSW chief scientist Hugh Durrant-Whyte also welcomed the state government’s new commitment.  

“This investment will ensure we are well-positioned to take advantage of this growing industry and create new and exciting job opportunities,” he said.

The NSW government first launched its Space Industry Development Strategy in January 2020, which aims to establish the state as the premier hub for commercial space technology in the Asia-Pacific region.

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Cyber, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

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