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Australian Government Invests $44M in AI Push

The Australian Government has announced it is investing $44 million AUD to establish four Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centers. 

The Capability Centers form part of the National $124.1 million AUD AI Action Plan, which sets out a vision for Australia to be a global leader in developing and adopting trusted, secure and responsible AI.

The Centers will drive the commercialisation of Australia’s leading AI research and help to take it to new domestic and global markets. They will also give small and medium businesses access to AI expertise that they need to adopt and enable them to use AI solutions to help them grow and create more jobs, the Government said.

“The Centers will act as a front door for SMEs to improve their AI skills in order to adopt AI products in their businesses,” said Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price (pictured). “They will draw together industries, research institutions, innovation hubs and businesses to create an ecosystem that drives innovation, commercialisation and adoption of AI. Our Government will continue to bolster the growth of AI by increasing the sharing of knowledge, supporting shared projects, and promoting long-term job creation. By requiring the Centers to focus on a priority area we can tailor the support for businesses to drive our manufacturing capability.”

Each applicant can nominate a focus area in specific applications of AI that support the Government’s National Manufacturing Priorities under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative, or the Digital Growth Priorities under the Digital Economy Strategy, which aims to position Australia as a leading digital economy and society by 2030. 

The Minister said that grants of up to $11 million AUD are available for each of the four new Centers. Applicants are required to submit joint applications with at least one industry partner and build on an existing technology, manufacturing hub or university. The applicants must contribute 25% of the total project’s expenditure and may provide additional in-kind contributions. 

The new Centers will work alongside the National Artificial Intelligence Center at CSIRO’s Data61 to strengthen Australia’s AI expertise and capabilities across multiple sectors. 



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