The first project involves researcher Dr James Zhang from Deakin University’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation working with Melbourne-based software company YTEK to develop advanced training tools for surgeons, emergency workers, soldiers and pilots.
Dr Zhang will work closely with YTEK to research machine-learning algorithms that will intelligently monitor and evaluate a trainee’s conduct in mission-critical simulations. Using sensors on training tools, such as manikins, the software will help trainers to assess students in practical training and accreditation, and see individual and group performance.
YTEK chief executive Richard Yanieri said it is particularly important for medical students in clinical lessons to ensure they have the best education possible, while making the best use of trainer time and education resources.
He said competing in an increasingly global market requires Australian SMEs to utilise leading technologies to grow and adapt.
But, research can be expensive for small businesses and the new grant initiative makes it easier and more viable for SMEs to create new technologies.
Dr Zhang, who obtained his PhD in 2014, is keen to put his skills to the test in a commercial environment and help deliver an innovative solution to capture new business opportunities.
“This is a great opportunity for me to be directly embedded in the business and to use my expertise to help YTEK create a new product," Dr Zhang said.
“I’ve gone from being a researcher to learning about the business environment and it’s a really exciting new phase in my career.
“This new technology is the future for training delivery so I’m pleased to be a part of it.”
The project has been facilitated by CSIRO’s SME Connect team which links SMEs with researchers to increase productivity and help develop new products and capabilities.
Managed by SME Connect, the SIEF STEM+ Business Fellowship programme is set to place over 35 researchers in businesses over the next five years, with the aim of helping to create a cohort of industry-savvy early-career researchers.
According to the CSIRO, with co-investment from participating organisations the programme has the capacity to deliver $24 million of research projects with Australian SMEs.