By Dr Alfredo Martinez-Coll
‘If only we had some more money’ is a fairly common refrain in the medical technology and pharmaceutical research community. So many great ideas that could make such a difference to people’s lives, but such deep ‘valleys of death’ to cross during the translation and commercialisation journey.
MTPConnect plays an important role in providing project funding to the sector. Through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Growth Centre Project Fund, we have invested $15.6 million across 37 collaborative projects, engaging over 160 consortium members. We also administer the BioMedTech Horizons (BMTH) program for the Department of Health. Delivered via the Medical Research Future Fund, BMTH supported 11 projects in 2018.
Across both programs, we are supporting 48 projects across the country, covering areas ranging from 3D anatomical printing and precision medicine to clinical trials, advanced manufacturing and industry training and mentoring.
What’s less well known is MTPConnect’s role in supporting key government programs such as the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P), ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) and Global Innovations Linkage programs.
Helping entities with a pre-submission review of their translational and industry-focused product development competitive grant applications is part of MTPConnect’s core business.
And with our extensive knowledge and experience, we’ve got a good track record in helping projects to secure funding. Across all categories through to 30 June 2018, 26 MTPConnect-assisted applications have been successful, generating $125.8 million in additional funding in the MTP sector. Since then, we have played a direct role in successful applications from various grating schemes, attracting an additional $32.45 million in funding. And that figure doesn’t include the matched industry funding that’s required as part of these grant programs.
For the CRC-P program, we have reviewed 127 applications across six rounds, including the latest outcomes announced just before Christmas. There have been 29 successful CRC-P grants in the MTP sector attracting approximately $61 million of funding over the six rounds. MTPConnect has been significantly involved with 19 of those applications resulting in $41.1 million of funding.
Now, with Round 7 CRC-P applications due in March, we’re working with AusIndustry’s Accelerating Commercialisation/Entrepreneur's Programme to hold a series of workshops around the country to share our deep understanding of what it takes to put together a successful application.
Here are my tried and tested tips for what will resonate with the Advisory Panel members:
- Demonstrate alignment with knowledge and sector priorities
- Focus on a significant industry problem or unmet need - tech pull not push
- Show that your understanding of the competitive landscape
- Be clear about your value proposition and impact
- Provide a business case with a viable path to market
- Bring collaboration partners (industry, academia, research institutes) to the table
Remember, CRC-Ps are industry-focused grants. Your application should focus on addressing an unmet need or opportunity to develop a product or service. The language you use in your application should be precise, concise and clear. If in doubt, test it with people outside of your knowledge sphere. If they don’t understand the problem and your proposal to tackle it, it’s unlikely the decision makers on the Advisory Panel will either.
Some food for thought if you have your eye on a CRC-P grant to take your project to the next level. I’ll be discussing these strategies - and the common pitfalls to avoid - at an event near you. So, if you want some guidance on putting the finishing touches to an application, or just need some reassurance that you’re on the right track, please come along and take advantage of the expertise in the room.
Dr Alfredo Martinez-Coll is General Manager, Stakeholder Engagement at MTPConnect
MTPConnect / AusIndustry CRC-P Round 7 Information Session dates (click on your city to register):