Applications are now open for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Capability Centre Grants of up to $11 million, as part of a Federal Government plan to drive the adoption of AI technologies by Australian businesses. Anthony Selleck explains why applicants should conduct IP due diligence before completing their submission.

The Australian Government released an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Action Plan in June 2021, which included funding to establish a number of “AI and Digital Capability Centres”.

Grants of up to A$11 million are now available for eligible entities to establish the new Centres, with applications needing to be submitted through the Business Australia website by 12 May 2022.

Overview of the grant

AI and Digital Capability Centres are intended to drive the adoption and use of AI technologies by Australian businesses. It is envisaged that the Centres will connect small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with AI equipment and tools, provide services and training, and link the enterprises to AI skills and expertise.

The Centres are also intended to support the development, commercialisation, and adoption of high-value AI products and services for the domestic and global marketplace.

According to the Action Plan, the objectives for establishing the Capability Centres are to:\

  • establish a “front door” for SMEs to access capabilities, expertise and innovative technologies to adopt, adapt, test and deploy AI technologies;
  • foster collaboration and connect SMEs with opportunities to lift productivity and drive commercialisation;
  • coordinate and drive the growth of Australia’s AI ecosystem; and
  • lift SME capabilities to enable more confident adoption of AI solutions.

Important points for grant applicants

According to the applicable Grant opportunity guidelines, an application for a grant to establish a Capability Centre must be a joint application with a lead organisation that will be the main driver of the project.

Each joint application must include amongst its project partners and lead organisation, at least one Australian industry partner. It is intended that the Centres will build on an existing establishment, such as a technology or manufacturing precinct/hub, university or centre of excellence. In this regard, the guidelines list the following bodies as examples of Australian industry partners:

  • an Australian research partner (such as a university or co-operative research centre);
  • a multi-national technology firm;
  • a large sector-specific firm; and
  • a state/territory agency or body.

When applying for a grant, applicants must certify that they “have or will have relevant intellectual property guidelines in place” in order to establish and run the Capability Centre.

We strongly suggest that applicants conduct IP due diligence and establish relevant guidelines (if they are not already in place) prior to making any certification in a grant application.

Summary

Griffith Hack is committed to working with clients across the full spectrum of industries that adopt AI technologies.