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Applications for Innovate to Grow – MRIWA Net Zero Emission Mining have now closed. Our next offer will be on Cyber innovation, opening later in July 2021. Please contact the team if you would like to know more about this next program.

About the program

Innovate to Grow is an engaging virtual learning program that helps small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) develop actionable business insights and strategies for leveraging research and development (R&D) to meet specific business needs.

With the help of experienced researchers and innovation experts, participants identify real technical and/or business challenges, explore what R&D and innovation opportunities exist to overcome those challenges, and develop actionable business and funding plans to activate those opportunities.

Innovate to Grow: Net Zero Emission Mining

The next round of Innovate to Grow commences in July 2021 and is for SMEs working on Net Zero Emission Mining solutions relevant to Western Australia. Participation is focused on companies developing and delivering Mining Equipment, Engineering and Technology Services (METS) for the Western Australian mining sector.

The Net Zero Emission Mining Challenge is led by the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) and aims to address challenges to emissions reduction in Western Australia's mining industry and support decarbonisation as an opportunity, rather than a cost.

The Challenge covers a broad range of opportunities across the minerals and mining value chain, with an initial focus on solutions responding to three priority themes:

  • Data Driven Decisions
  • Mining and Processing Technology
  • Energy Utilisation

As part of Innovate to Grow, SMEs will learn about CSIRO’s latest science and technologies to tackle net zero emissions and help the mining and minerals sector. SMEs will be exposed to R&D and industry knowledge, innovation experts and mentors to help develop an actionable funding proposal related to the MRIWA Net Zero Emission Mining Challenge.

To further support participating SMEs, MRIWA is offering program participants the opportunity to apply for a total of up $500,000 (between $20,000 to $50,000 per grant) to develop their solutions towards implementation in partnership with a research institution. These small scale grants will require matched funding and will be subject to a separate application and assessment process following completion of the program, with further details to be released by MRIWA.

Program detail

This program is designed for established SMEs who are either interested in understanding their R&D opportunities or are in the early decision-making stages about engaging in an R&D project with a research organisation.

Each program will bring together SMEs and industry experts from a specific industry sector. Innovate to Grow is delivered in partnership with Australian edtech start-up Practera, using their experiential learning platform to facilitate high quality project learning collaboration.

The program is self-paced and is delivered in three phases:

Phase 1: Program preparation

  • Participants will be provided with an on-boarding session, pre-workshop videos, materials and questionnaires to assist in preparing for the program
  • Time commitment is approximately two hours

Phase 2: Half-day workshop

  • The program’s main compulsory component is a half-day workshop covering the program concept. Participants will hear from CSIRO industry and research experts as well as relevant industry SMEs. Key topics include trends within your industry sector, a panel discussion with collaborating SMEs, and current funding opportunities for R&D.
  • Time commitment is approximately five hours

Phase 3: Self-paced 60 day online program

  • Participants will work through the online innovation program at their own pace, supported by CSIRO experts and experienced innovation facilitators to develop and test their research ideas and business cases.
  • Optional fortnightly webinars on topics such as how to write a funding proposal and expert insights into your industry
  • Final wrap-up session
  • Time commitment is approximately 1-2 hours per week

Participants will walk away from the program with a suite of tools to enable ongoing innovation planning in their business, including:

  • Innovation Value Template to define innovation opportunities and assess their business value
  • Business Case Template to assess and compare innovation opportunities for your business
  • Funding Plan Template to understand key data and funding requirements, and prepare for a funding application
  • Detailed Project Budgeting and ROI Calculation Templates

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo and text appears on a blue screen: “Innovate to Grow” is CSIRO’s online learning program for SMEs, delivered in partnership with Australian edtech start-up Practera]

[New text appears: It helps SMEs develop their R & D skills by bringing together companies, industry-specific researchers, and innovation experts]

[New text appears: Here is what recent participants have to say about “Innovate to Grow”]

[Image changes to show Hamish Shaw talking to the camera and text appears: Hamish Shaw, Bellata Gold]

Hamish Shaw: Yeah, nobody knows their product like SMEs. They have to or they don’t survive. So, we all run around with 50 ideas in our heads about how to do things better.

[Image changes to show Jo Lane talking to the camera and text appears: Jo Lane, Sea Health Products]

Jo Lane: Often you go, “Oh yeah, this is what I’m going to do” but we actually need to break it down step-by-step in how much is it going to cost, what resources do you need, is this actually a realistic concept.

[Image changes to show Amanda Falconer talking to the camera and text appears: Amanda Falconer, Bestie Kitchen]

Amanda Falconer: Doing the “Innovate to Grow” programme really made that accessible to me and demystified that. And it also gave me some tools and rigour around trying to develop a research programme and work out the funding sources for that.

[Image changes to show Hamish talking to the camera]

Hamish Shaw: We had great exposure to, along the way to several experts and those contacts I think will be invaluable going forward. I do feel they’re the sort of people, if I drop them a line they’d give me 15, 20 minutes, and certainly heading you in the right direction could save you months.

[Image changes to show Amanda talking to the camera]

Amanda Falconer: There was exposure to peers, people in businesses that I probably wouldn’t ordinarily come across who were having experiences, not the same as mine, but still things that I could learn from.

[Image changes to show two Emerging High Growth graphs on a web page and then the image changes to show a Research Engagement model web page]

Jo Lane: What I found most valuable was opportunities to talk with other participants and hear about their challenges.

[Image changes to show Hamish talking to the camera]

Hamish Shaw: We were very lucky it was CSIRO; I think they were sort of at the centre of everything.

[Image changes to show Amanda talking to the camera]

Amanda Falconer: It certainly paid back my time ten-fold I think.

[Image changes to show a Collaboration & Funding Options web page and then the image changes to show a pie graph and information about Businesses of Tomorrow on a web page]

Jo Lane: It’s been a great experience and opened my eyes to, you know, really anything is possible.

[Image changes to show Hamish talking to the camera]

Hamish Lane: I think the programme is a fantastic idea.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera]

Jo Lane: I would definitely recommend it.

[Image changes to show Amanda talking to the camera]

Amanda Falconer: I think it’s an awesome opportunity and I encourage you to apply.

[Music plays and image changes to show a blue screen and text appears: Find out more about “Innovate to Grow” at]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text on a white screen: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]


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What program participants are saying

"The perfect solution in the current times. Innovation can provide a path out of the current COVID induced slump and reposition Australia as a smart nation into the future. Nobody knows their product/markets and how to improve them like SME's, they just don't have the resources to develop them. This course taps that knowledge rich base and links with the resources."

Hamish Shaw, GM Bellata Gold Milling

"[There are]…significant benefits of being part of the ‘eco-system’ - from which associations and opportunities flow"

Amanda Falconer, Founder & CEO, Bestie Kitchens

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