Australia offers AUS$2 million for ideas on how to save the Great Barrier Reef

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Australia offers AUS$2 million for ideas on how to save the Great Barrier Reef

January 17, 2018 - 13:27
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If you have an innovative idea on how to save the Great Barrier Reef, here's your chance to put it into action—and get some funding for it at the same time.

Great Barrier Reef seen from the deck of a dive boat

In a bid to restore the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), the Australian Government has launched a challenge to scientists, business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to come up with novel, innovative solutions that can protect corals and boost the recovery of damaged reefs on the GBR.

Describing it as the "planet's greatest living wonder," Australia's Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said that the ideas could focus on anything from reducing the corals' exposure to physical stressors to ways to boost coral regeneration rates.

"The scale of the problem is big and big thinking is needed, but it’s important to remember that solutions can come from anywhere," he said.

The challenge is supported by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative. The Advance Queensland Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards contracts to innovators to research, develop and test their solutions to complex challenges.

At the initial feasibility stage, more than one proposal is expected to be accepted. During this time, for up to six months, researchers can use up to AUD$250,000 to test the technical and commercial viability of their proposals. Then, a further AUD$1 million will then be made available to the best solutions at the proof of concept stage, during which applicants can develop and test their ideas for up to a year.

An information session will be held in early February for interested applicants. Entries will close on 6 March 2018.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the GBR continues to be under threat due to coral bleaching, nutrient runoff, and predatory crown-of-thorns starfish. Despite this, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee decided not to place the site on its list of sites deemed to be "in danger".

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