The federal government is investing $12 million in a new Catalysing the Artificial Intelligence Opportunity in Our Regions program, to provide competitive grant funding over three rounds to regional organisations for AI projects that deliver benefits to regional industries, businesses and communities.
The program, part of the government’s $124.1 million investment under the AI Action Plan, will strengthen partnerships between the technology sector and regional Australians to solve uniquely Australian challenges.
Under round one, grants of between $250,000 and $500,000 are available.
The program will showcase the opportunities for AI to boost regional capabilities, grow trust in this technology and create a pathway for high-skilled jobs in regional Australia, minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said.
“The Morrison government is continuing its commitment to regional Australia by making local projects a reality to drive economic development and create stronger partnerships across our regional communities,” Price said.
“We want to see the Australian technology sector get behind the opportunities for technology to improve the lives of regional Australians. It will mean more innovative uses of AI, such as AI-assisted tools to increase crop yield by detecting disease and pests or predicting the spread of bushfires.
“The potential of AI is enormous and will be vital to our future. This investment will create local jobs and help ensure regional Australia is at the forefront of this rapidly evolving industry.”
The program aims to support projects that demonstrate real-world applications of artificial intelligence that address challenges faced in regional areas.
Eligible activities include developing, implementing and demonstrating novel or innovative AI solutions, providing opportunities for regional businesses to test and experiment with AI, and increasing awareness and trust in AI in regional Australia.
Applicants must submit a joint application, where at least one partner organisation is located in a regional area.
Details on how to apply for round one of the program are available at business.gov.au/aicr.
The AI Action Plan sets out a vision for Australia to become a global leader in developing and adopting trusted, secure and responsible artificial intelligence. More information about Australia’s AI Action plan, including measures under the plan, can be found at industry.gov.au.