The long-standing relationship that Australia and the United States share in science, research and education has for decades been characterised by goodwill, collaboration and supportive networks of individuals and institutions on both sides of the Pacific. Together, Australian and US researchers conduct joint spacecraft‐tracking projects and deep sea dives, pursue cures for the world’s most devastating diseases, and develop new technologies to make the world a smarter, safer place. Australian and US universities share more than 1,250 agreements and each year more than 15,000 students from Australia and the US study in one another’s countries, developing the personal and professional relationships that undergird the long history of intellectual and scientific collaboration between their home nations.
There are a range of Australian Government programmes supporting international science, research and innovation collaboration, and details of the major schemes are outlined in the following section. It is recommended that individuals and organisations looking for opportunities to collaborate with Australia first find a suitable partner/s.
The Australian Government provides significant support to businesses, universities and researchers for their science and innovation activities, including international collaboration, so many Australian partners may be able to self-finance their participation. International and multilateral organisations also provide significant support for international collaboration on global challenges.
The Australian Research Council
The Australian Research Council (ARC) is Australia’s main funding agency for research grants and provides a variety of opportunities to support international research collaboration in all disciplines (although clinical and other medical research are primarily supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council). All ARC funding schemes are open to international researchers, provided applications are made through an eligible Australian institution.
The ARC’s funding schemes include support for fundamental research, fellowships and collaborative research with industry, government and the community.
National Health and Medical Research Council
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is Australia’s peak body for supporting health and medical research. The NHMRC also supports Australian researchers to form international collaborations in health and clinical medicine. Applications for international collaborative projects must be made by Australian researchers, with most NHMRC grants only supporting the involvement of Australian researchers.
NHMRC has partnerships with many international agencies and organisations and participates in international collaborations to foster global health and medical research goals.
Cooperative Research Centres Programme
The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Programme supports industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships. CRCs commonly have dozens of participating organisations: universities and research institutions; businesses from multinational corporations to small and medium enterprises; governments at all levels; not-for-profit organisations and industry and community associations. The majority of CRCs have strong international collaborations and many have international participants.
There are two streams of funding under the programme: CRCs and CRC Projects. CRCs are long-term research collaborations of up to 10 years with no maximum limit to funding. CRC-Ps are short-term collaborations of up to 3 years with a maximum of $3 million in funding.
Global Innovation Strategy initiatives
Global Innovation Linkages
The Global Innovation Linkages programme supports Australian businesses and researchers to collaborate with global partners on strategically focused, leading-edge research and development projects. It supports projects focused on developing high quality products, services or processes that respond to industry challenges, with funding of up to $1 million per grant over a maximum period of four years.
Global Connections Fund
The Global Connections Fund supports global SME-to-researcher collaborations to enable viable projects to grow and test commercialisation in industries of strategic growth in Australia.
There are two types of grants under the Fund:
- Bridging Grants – grants of up to $50,000 designed as seed funding capital to enable viable projects to grow in scope and scale, test commercialisation and proof-of-concept activities.
- Priming Grants – grants of around $7,000 to enable Australian SMEs and Australian researchers to meet and collaborate with international partners to further develop their ideas.
Regional Collaborations Programme
The Regional Collaborations Programme assists Australian researchers and businesses to build strong linkages in the Asia-Pacific region by funding multi-partner science, research and innovation activities that deliver innovative solutions to shared regional challenges. These activities will, in turn, reduce collaboration barriers and promote an open approach to science, research and industry collaboration throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Funding support is available for single or multi-year collaborative projects, as well as collaborative workshops.