3 mins read 30 Mar 2022

Australia and India space collaboration gains a funding boost

The Federal Government announces $42 million in space-related funding for Australian businesses and researchers to enter India’s booming space industry.

Launch from The Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre, India Credit: ISRO.

The Federal Government has announced $42 million of funding for space, science, and technology initiatives with India to support new Australian opportunities within the space industry. The funding builds on the existing collaboration between Australia and India under the International Space Investment (ISI) initiative which includes Australia’s involvement and support of India’s quest for their first human spaceflight mission ‘Gaganyann’ to be launched in 2023.

The funding announcement came following the Virtual Annual Leaders’ Meeting last week between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

The \$42 million in funding includes over \$25 million for Australian businesses and researchers to tap into India’s booming space industry.

$9.5 million will fund an Australia-India Innovation and Technology Challenge led by CSIRO for around 20 innovations to tackle environmental and economic challenges such as waste reduction, water security, and food system resilience. The program will help develop the skills needed to fast-track their technology and ideas into the market at pace.

“CSIRO has already had tremendous success in facilitating and collaborating with industry to fast-track cutting-edge research and technology into real-world outcomes, and we want to replicate this success with India,” said CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall.

A further $7.8 million of the funding will go to secure the ongoing Australia-India Strategic Research Fund which is Australia’s largest fund dedicated to bilateral science cooperation between Australian and Indian leading universities and research institutes.  

Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said Australia had much to gain from working alongside India in innovative new areas of space, science and technology.

“Teaming up with our friends in India creates remarkable opportunities for our Aussie businesses and researchers, which will, in turn, benefit all Australians,” Minister Price said.

“India is already a key economic partner for Australia and these investments will lock in relationships that are going to improve the everyday lives of residents in both our nations, while also creating economic opportunities for us here at home.

“India is also an important regional partner and this funding will allow our nations to keep working together to promote rules and norms, including through initiatives like the Quad.”

Minister Price said Australia stood to benefit greatly from working with India.

“India’s space program is one of the fastest-growing in the world,” Minister Price said.

“It is expected to grow by US$43 billion to 2025 – and we want Australian space businesses to be part of that, so they can expand and create jobs at home.

“Likewise, we want our researchers and innovators to be able to fast-track their work into real-world outcomes – and working with India presents a fantastic opportunity to do just that.”