Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Australia’s premier tech research and national science agency, CSIRO, has announced a program designed to help Australian SMEs develop IP in cyber security and digital technologies.

The Innovate To Grow: Cyber Security and Digital Technology program features a 10-week online learning course that will help businesses assess research and development (R&D) viability, define and refine their value proposition, build a business case for the innovation, and prepare a strong funding application.

This course is also supported by access to expert knowledge, resources, and mentorship to help businesses further develop their innovation ideas.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of Australia, and many have innovative business ideas and solutions that could help mitigate cyber security threats and deliver a positive impact to other Australian businesses and the economy,” said Dr Marthie Grobler, principal research scientist in human-centred cyber security at CSIRO’s Data61.

“These businesses tend to face a myriad of challenges in bringing their ideas to life, namely investment of money, time and resources.”

Applications for the program close on September 17.

R&D Is a Useful Expansion Opportunity for MSPs

MSPs aren’t traditionally seen as R&D-heavy organisations, given that they tend to support their clients using technology solutions sourced from their vendor partners.

And yet, R&D also offers one of the strongest opportunities for differentiation. With MSPs running off platforms that are heavily involved in the cloud, IP creation is a pathway to revenue growth.

For example, in 2022, McKinsey published a report on the $2 trillion market opportunity for cyber security technology and service providers. There, the company noted that moving forward, MSPs may find opportunities to engage even more closely with their vendor partners by getting involved at the R&D stage: “A potentially rewarding approach would be to adopt co-creative models with managed-service providers (MSPs) to build workbench solutions. This would require investments in R&D and development tooling (for example, APIs) that allow MSPs to connect your platform to theirs rather than the other way around.”

Likewise, in a report from 2019, Dr. John Benamati recommended that one of the most effective ways for MSPs to prepare for challenging economic times was to invest in competitive differentiation, with R&D being a core source of that: “I would invest in whatever makes my company different and competitive. Service enhancements, R&D, intellectual property, whatever it is. These are the things that will matter most during tough times,” he said at the time.

Certainly, MSPs have a core opportunity to invest in R&D and use that to enhance their service platforms. In addition, they can collaborate with local technology companies on innovation. Adding competencies in these areas – particularly given that it’s free from the CSIRO – is a wise investment in time for the local tech industry.