Southern Cross University and NSW Government have started the R & D challenge for small and medium businesses.
Southern Cross University and NSW Government have started the R & D challenge for small and medium businesses.

Uni + brain power = fast tracking for business post COVID-19

SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY and NSW Government have joined forces to accelerate business innovation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 R & D challenge is aimed at helping small to medium businesses develop their ideas that could address the impact of COVID-19 and release them to market within 12 months.

The R & D challenge is the first of three challenges and has a total funding pool of $500,000 dollars available for this round.

Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement) at Southern Cross University said he believes the region will once again show its innovative nature in the health and wellbeing sector.

"The Northern Rivers and Coffs Coast is renowned for its track record in developing saleable enterprises that respond to new economic opportunities that address collective challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for such products and solutions, so we are enthusiastic about the response our Innovation District will receive.

"In exploring the health and wellbeing theme of the challenge, the first Innovation Challenge will focus on how can we grow our resilience to future shocks while positively growing the health and wellbeing of the people in our region. This may include businesses developing new products from existing production processes, new forms of service provision in a COVID safe world or new technologies or approaches that enhance our resilience to withstand future pandemics."

Skills and Tertiary Education Minister Geoff Lee said the challenge represented a great opportunity to support the university sector and local business.

"We know our universities are doing it tough, which is why we are continuing to support their world-leading research and collaborate with business to bring products to market," Mr Lee said.

"This includes the funding to run these challenges and the opportunity for the state's 11 universities, NSW CSIRO and businesses to take these developments to consumers."

For further details on the challenge, see Southern Cross University's website.