There are six Industry Growth Centres funded by the Federal Government and they play an important role in CRC and CRC-P applications. They also have input on other programs like the ARC Industry Linkage grants. It is worth getting to know your growth centre.
When an application for a CRC or CRC-P arrives at the Department of Industry, one of the first things that happens is it is forwarded to the relevant Growth Centre for comment. For about half of the applications, this will be the first time the Growth Centre has seen it. For the other half, they’ve been consulted prior to submission of the application. Obviously, if they’ve seen it before, had a chance to give feedback and help you connect with the right people, then you stand a much better chance that the Growth Centre will give it a big tick. That doesn’t mean it will get funded, but having a tick from the relevant Growth Centre when it gets to the CRC Advisory Committee will give your application a much better chance.
When your application arrives at the Growth Centre, they are looking for several things:
- Does it fit the 10-year competitiveness plan for that sector? Hint: all six Growth Centres have their competitiveness plan published on the web and easily accessible, make sure you understand where you fit and make sure it is obvious in your application;
- Is the application leading-edge? Hint: the Growth Centre will look at the science behind the application as well as the collaborators and whether together they make a compelling case;
- Does the application duplicate current activity and is it good value? Hint: the Growth Centre is likely to know if someone else is close to registering a drug you proposing to start, or whether Brazilian imports are about to swamp a market you are proposing to enter.
In each of the instances above, it is always better if you’ve spoken and listened to feedback from the Growth Centre before submission of the application. Do it with enough time to respond to their feedback.
It isn’t always obvious which Growth Centre, if any, you should approach. The most common misconception CRCA sees is equating production with manufacturing. Companies assume because they don’t fit under the Advance Manufacturing Growth Centre’s umbrella because they do part or all of their production overseas. That’s not necessarily the case. If the smarts of design and marketing are done in Australia, they’ll find they may fit the AMGC’s very definition of an advanced manufacturing company.
Other applications will overlap the interest of more than one Growth Centre. In those cases, we usually recommend initially liaising with both and then deciding if one might end up taking the lead.
Engagement with the Growth Centres shouldn’t stop with a funding application. They can add value and connections throughout the life of your project. In the case of full CRCs, the Growth Centre may elect to become a participant. Nor should you limit your engagement to CRC-related funding applications. Growth Centres can do much more for you from providing speakers for events, or funding small projects from their own resources through to seeking participants for a CRC or even initiating a CRC application.
Contact the Growth Centres directly, or ask the CRCA for an introduction. They are: