Rather than relying solely on the traditional call for applications, the FRDC is trialling new, more agile approaches to investment in Innovation that will deliver disruptive solutions that will ‘future-proof’ the industry. This includes a Challenge-led approach whereby problems and issues identified by the FRDCs stakeholders will be provided to start-ups, tech developers and large technology ventures to pitch their ideas and/or technologies with the view to engaging with industry participants to solve the identified issues.
FRDC partnered with Blue-X, a project focused on increasing innovation capacity and capability within Fisheries and the Seafood Industry as a whole. The project origins began in late 2016 with the launch of Fish-X, a remote incubator program. Now in its third year, this program is undergoing changes in order to trial an expanded online delivery approach, allowing all applicants to gain assistance with turning their ideas into businesses.
Alongside the incubator, Blue-X continues to work with industry innovators, program alumni, researchers, investors and industry as a whole, building and strengthening connections across the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
In 2020, the project will expand and increase internal innovation capacity and capability with FRDC as an organisation to:
- Look at new approaches for how R&D is conceptualised, funded, managed, and shared.
- Increase innovation experimentation, sharing early and learning quickly from what doesn’t’ work. This allows everyone to evolve, improve and build on each other’s findings over time.
- Increase knowledge of both the Australian and global start-up ecosystem.
- Identify and connect with talent from within the global Fishing, Aquaculture & Seafood innovation ecosystem.
- Expand internal focus on propagating an innovative mindset throughout the fishing and aquaculture community.
FRDC has partnered with Food Futures Company to pilot the new and unique TEKFISH AUSTRALIA platform. This will initially:
- Identify and create partnerships with new Australian and global entities across all elements in the innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem
- Secure new global investors to co-invest in development, adoption, and commercialisation of disruptive innovations
- Attract world leading entrepreneurial tech ventures to Australia to solve identified industry challenges
- Engage stakeholders in the development of the TEKFISH AUSTRALIA platform
- Test the value and viability of the TEKFISH AUSTRALIA platform against key industry challenges and opportunities
An initial suite of three challenges are to be trialled. These are Aquaculture, Fishing Technology and Traceability. A suite of approaches will be used to identify challenges and issues facing FRDC stakeholders including workshops and surveys. These will be refined and then developed into Tech Innovation Challenges, creating an opportunity for tech start-ups; scale-ups; and teams from either tech or industry companies to participate and pitch innovative solutions for potential investment by the FRDC and other partners. In addition, TEKFISH AUSTRALIA will undertake a series of Investment Roundtables to proactively engage with Australian and international investors who may not traditionally have seen Aquaculture and Fisheries as an attractive investment opportunity. Ultimately industry participants, tech developers and investors will have the opportunity to participate in Innovation Projects where new technologies that improve long-term industry sustainability and productivity are deployed. The following links provide more detail on specific TEKFISH initiatives currently underway.