Seaweed that reduces the methane in cow burps and farts, a low-gluten barley for coeliacs, and facial recognition technology that assesses pain in people who can't talk are among the projects set to attract funding under the Turnbull government's new $200 million innovation fund.
Science Minister Greg Hunt will on Sunday officially launch the CSIRO Innovation Fund, which aims to commercialise innovative projects from the CSIRO, universities and other research bodies.
The government, which is chipping in $70 million, hopes the fund will turn innovative start-ups into businesses that create jobs and boost exports. The fund is a key element of the innovation agenda announced by Malcolm Turnbull in the early days of his prime ministership last year.
"This fund will bridge the gap between science and industry," Mr Hunt said. "It will allow our innovators to meet industry half way by developing investable propositions, enabling our scientists to get their product to market more rapidly.
"It's about maximising value from taxpayer-funded research and ensuring important discoveries are made beyond the laboratory."
The fund will be led by innovation and venture-capital expert Bill Bartee, Mr Hunt will announce on Sunday.
The fund will invest in new ventures, some of which may be generated by Australia's "innovation accelerator" ON.
Those projects include FutureFeed, a livestock additive from seaweed that dramatically reduces methane emissions; Kebari, an ultra-low gluten barley that can be used to make food suitable for people who are gluten intolerant or suffer from coeliac disease; and ePAT, real-time facial recognition technology that assesses pain in people who cannot communicate verbally.
Other projects include Cardihab, the world's only scientific smartphone enabled cardiac rehabilitation program, and TranspiratiONal, a biodegradable polymer membrane that can be sprayed and used to improve agricultural water use.
The government is investing $70 million into the fund over a decade, while another $30 million will come from CSIRO revenue. The remaining $100 million will be sourced through private sector investment.
CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said the fund was the "final piece in the puzzle" for his organisation's work.
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