Victorian grants boost biotechnology sector

By Paul Hemsley

The Victorian Government will support the state's biotechnology sector to coordinate related policies, activities and investment.

Under the state's 'Technology Plan for the Future' initiative, the Department of Business and Innovation will commit $55 million to the biotechnology sector to encourage economic growth.

Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips said major technology platforms such as biotechnology, ICT and small technologies will bring wider economic benefits to the state.

The plan has targets aimed 2015 including a 25 per cent increase in product development activity, a 25 per cent increase in the value of biotechnology related exports, 600 new biotechnology related jobs, practical application and solutions to improve sustainability.

Two areas covered are 'capability development' and 'biotech-enabled innovation', focusing on product development, uptake programs and regulatory reform.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Technology said one of the key initiatives under the plan is the $15 million Health Market Validation Program (HMVP).

According to the spokesperson, the HMVP is a competitive grants program leveraging the power of government-as-customer supporting the development of innovative health technology solutions to identified problems in Victoria's health sector.

"The plan also commits to a new Industrial Biotechnology Uptake Program, which reflects the increasing importance of industrial biotechnology as a growth area for the state," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the state government will support a wide range of businesses in the biotechnology sector, including small to medium sized enterprises and larger companies across a wider range of industries.

"We see enormous potential for Victorian businesses to adopt biotech as an enabling technology to generate productivity gains through improved products, processes and services," the spokesperson said.

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