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17 April 2023 News Release

Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, is helping small to medium enterprises (SMEs) enhance their research and development (R&D) knowledge with a free 10-week online program focused on cyber security and digital technologies.

The Innovate to Grow program, connects businesses working on solutions in cyber and digital tech with knowledge, resources and mentors to advance their project or ideas.

After completing the program, eligible participants may be able to access continued support through CSIRO, being connected to national research expertise and/or dollar-matched R&D funding to keep moving their ideas forward.

CSIRO’s Data61 Research Director for Software and Computational Systems Dr Liming Zhu said an Innovate to Grow program focused on cyber security and digital technology could not be more timely.

“The rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models like ChatGPT are rapidly transforming the digital and cyber innovation landscape,” Dr Zhu said.

“Whether they're creating knowledge-intensive products or seeking to add innovative features to interact with customers, companies can tap into new growth opportunities thanks to the increasing power of generative AI,” he said.

However, Dr Zhu warned that the rapid development and escalation of these applications comes with increased cyber risks and risks in digital trust, and that preparation is the key to mitigating these risks.

“This is a new territory, which is still evolving,” Dr Zhu said.

“Our aim with programs like this is to assist companies who are building solutions to these problems," he said.

CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow Program Coordinator, Michelle Armistead, has urged Australian SMEs to consider taking the opportunity to connect with like-minded mentors and companies to learn and grow.

“We know the critical importance Australia’s SMEs have in the growth and resilience of our economy, and likewise the large role they will play in growing these emerging industries of cyber and digital tech,” Ms Armistead said.

“One of the most valuable pieces of feedback we’ve had from participants in our previous cohorts is the deep value they have gained in working through the self-paced deliverables while connecting with our expert advisors,” she said.

Eligible companies can be working directly in cyber security, digital technologies or adjacent industries and want to improve the cyber security and digital technologies aspect of their offering.

CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Cyber Security and Digital Technologies program commences 8 June and is available for 20-25 SMEs. Expressions of interest to participate close 15 May. 

This program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund.


CSIRO is helping businesses enhance their R&D knowledge with a free program focused on cyber security and digital technologies.

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