Five research organisations received a combined total of $897,210 in funding, which is provided under the first round of the $3.2 million Regional Collaborations Programme as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
"These grants will support Australian researchers and businesses which are collaborating with partners in our immediate region to develop innovative solutions to shared challenges. The projects will build strong regional partnerships across a wide range of fields including agricultural and environmental sciences, transport and construction, health, manufacturing and materials sciences," the Innovation Ministry said.
They include collaborative projects between:
• The University of Wollongong and partners in Indonesia and the United Kingdom to develop regional monitoring of coastal climate change impacts using remote sensing technologies.
• The University of Melbourne, and partners in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and China to establish an Asia-Pacific research network on sustainable materials and prefabricated systems to address the housing crisis in the region through resilient affordable housing.
• The University of Melbourne, together with partners in China, Singapore, US, Canada and France to establish an international coalition to support the discovery of a safe, affordable, scalable and effective cure for hepatitis B.
• The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research together with partners in Indonesia and Japan to understand mechanisms leading to immunity and resistance to malaria and severe dengue fever.
• The University of South Australia and partners in New Zealand and Japan to overcome barriers to the mass production of biomedical devices to promote improved health care outcomes for aging populations.
The Innovation Ministry said the Regional Collaborations Programme was designed to build strong linkages between Australian researchers and businesses and their Asia-Pacific regional counterparts by supporting multi-partner science, research and innovation collaboration activities that addressed issues of importance to the region.
"The program also supports greater mobility amongst our technical and research workforce, and builds Australia's research capability by linking to global science and research networks and infrastructure. The Australian government has allocated the $3.2 million to the Regional Collaborations Programme for the first four years from 2016/17 to 2020/21.