Applications to open for 2017 Project Fund Program


Interested parties encouraged to start preparing their applications to share in the $8.2 million of available funding.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 - Melbourne, Australia: MTPConnect - the Industry Growth Centre for medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector - has announced that the second round of its $15.6 million Project Fund Program, under the Australian Government's Industry Growth Centres Initiative, will open on Monday 3rd July 2017. Applicants with big, bold ideas that aim to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of Australia's MTP sector will have the chance to share in $8.2 million in funding.

Successful applications will need to demonstrate the proposed idea is collaborative and industry-led, will deliver results on a national scale, have a sector-wide impact (including for small-to-medium enterprises), and are aligned with MTPConnect's Sector Growth Priorities as defined in its Sector Competitiveness Plan (SCP). Any funding from the program will also need to be matched at least dollar-for-dollar by the sector.

Sue MacLeman, CEO of MTPConnect, said there is overwhelming support for the program, with the first-round last year receiving 38 applications from industry, research organisations and universities, offering up to $90 million in matched funding to address the constraints, barriers and opportunities for the sector.

"Last year we received a variety of projects that aligned with one or more of our Sector Growth Priorities, and creatively addressed sector constraints and barriers to growth, including lack of collaboration between business and research, skills shortages and a lack of commercialisation skills and business acumen. We selected 14 projects to receive $7.4 million in funding over two years, with matched funding of c.$32 million. We selected these projects because they have the potential to create a highly productive commercialisation environment through greater industry-research collaboration, as well as transform the SMEs sub sector to support the growth of smaller companies into larger companies."

One of the 14 successful projects selected is a national expansion of the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) program, an industry-led mentoring initiative of The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) in collaboration with AusBiotech. The program connects PhD students in STEM with qualified industry mentors to help them extend their professional networks and create a highly-skilled and job-ready workforce of the future.

Receiving an MTPConnect Project Fund Program grant of $200,000, and additional industry matched funding of $210,000, the program has recently been awarded the Best Higher Education and Training Collaboration award at the Business Higher Education Round Table, and has been embraced and recommended by PhD students in all fields of relevance to the MTP sector.

Professor Paul Wood, Co-Founder of the IMNIS program, said: "Funding from the MTPConnect Project Fund Program was critical to the ability of IMNIS to expand the successful program nationally and to recruit the essential role of Executive Director, appointing Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea. University response to the ATSE initiative has been extremely positive, and through AusBiotech we have recruited a strong network of industry mentors. MTPConnect has been a terrific partner to work with, and I highly recommend this program - it is already having great impact in the sector."

Another successful applicant was The Bridge Program, a national, sector-wide program consisting of 14 pharmaceutical companies, universities and industry associations. MTPConnect's funding will see it launch an exciting education program in June, and is currently taking applications. The program will select 100 participants annually from across Australia to take part in face-to-face and online training in the scientific, legal, financial, clinical, regulatory and reimbursement disciplines that contribute to research translation and the commercialisation of medicines.

MTPConnect invite consortia large and small to creatively address some of the barriers to growth, as outlined in their 10-year Sector Competitiveness Plan, to share in a funding pool of $8.2 million over two years. Expressions of Interest (EOI) will open 3rd July 2017 for two months. Over the next two months ahead of the application date, MTPConnect will provide guidance documents and training materials to help applicants prepare, and will be hosting a webinar to assist prospective applicants. For more information, please visit the website: mtpconnect.org.au

This is your chance to collaborate and help take the MTP sector to the next level.