CSIRO accelerating SME innovation in agrifood


Australia’s national science agency CSIRO has opened a new program designed to help SMEs in the agrifood sector assess how they can advance their technologies, solutions and ideas through research and development (R&D).

The Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program offers a free 10-week online learning program that looks towards shaping the future of innovation in the agrifood sector.

The program is bolstered by CSIRO’s Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission and Future Protein Mission. The Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission aims to increase the value of Australian food premiums by $10 billion by 2030 by building trust in the safety, quality and provenance of the country’s agrifood. Meanwhile, the Future Protein Mission seeks to leverage the increasing global demand for high-quality protein to create new Australian protein products and ingredients that will earn an additional $10 billion in revenue by 2030. 

The program will begin on 2 November and is available for a limited number of SMEs working across the sub-sectors of complementary proteins, meat and meat processing, agriculture, aquaculture, livestock 
beverage and/or fermentation, food product manufacturing, and other sub-sectors that may be considered.

Dr Ryan McAllister, Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission Lead, said that SMEs will play a pivotal role in transforming the agrifood sector and the program will equip them with the tools to do just that.

“This initiative represents a step toward modernising how supply chains support agricultural exports, with programs such as Innovate to Grow set to equip SMEs with the insight required to play a part in achieving this mission,” Dr McAllister said. “Our mission is centred around helping producers get their products into discerning markets that are willing to pay a premium for Australian quality and safety, fortified with trusted data that upholds our national brand.”

Dr Monika Szabo, CSIRO’s SME Collaboration Manager, encouraged SMEs to capitalise on this opportunity to help translate their ideas into viable commercial opportunities and understand how R&D can benefit their business. 

“Over the course of this program, CSIRO and industry sector experts will equip you with the skills to assess the viability of your innovation, build a business case and prepare a strong funding application,” Szabo said. 

Upon completion of the program, eligible participants may have the opportunity to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.  

Applications for the Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program are open until Sunday 15 October 2023.