In collaboration with a Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group project team, gemaker delivered an internal strategy for engagement with small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) enabling tech transfer to meet Defence needs. The strategy was guided by gemaker’s research into local and international models for SME engagement to promote innovation, collation of available data on science-based SMEs in Australia, and interviews with international and multinational organisations engaging with innovative SMEs.
A major outcome of this strategy is the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD) program, managed through the Next Generation Technologies Fund, which gives Australian SMEs the opportunity to undertake research projects with potential for Defence application. SMEs provide agility and risk tolerance for innovation. SBIRD research projects may relate to specific challenges identified by Defence, or have broader scope with potential for disruptive innovation.