Delivering Solutions through Collaboration: What we do

Our project generation, review and gating process is illustrated in the following schematic. The process is designed to quickly weed out those project concepts that are of little interest to members.

  1. identifying industry challenges that lead to project ideas
  2. Initial assessment of the project idea
  3. Market testing of the idea by seeking Expressions of Interest
  4. Proposal development and circulation
  5. Project commencement and oversight

Identifying industry challenges that lead to project ideas

Our preferred operating model for identifying research projects is through industry-pull mechanisms but researcher-push has played an important role over the years, particularly in Australia. The former enables us to develop projects that address real problems that our members have, but we also open to the latter model which allows us to be in a position to filter ideas and alert our members of new opportunities that research providers bring to us.

The sources of our project ideas are varied. They may come directly from members, via specially designed roundtables, workshops, state-of-the-art studies, Roadmaps, and conferences or as unsolicited propositions from researchers.

Initial assessment of the project idea

Each project concept goes through an internal validation process by our Strategic Business Development Group (SBDG) who is responsible to manage the project review and gating process. We use our domain knowledge to assess the idea for potential industry relevance, overlap with existing research effort and other key factors. If the project concept is an unsolicited submission from a researcher we carefully assess the credentials of the research leader and his/her team. The SBDG also allocates resources required to take the concept further should it be warranted.

Market testing of the project idea by seeking Expressions of Interest

A Project brief is prepared should the project concept pass the initial review. This is a two to three page marketing document designed to solicit Expressions of Interest (EOI) from members. The EOI is circulated to potential sponsors targeting key technical individuals who are requested, not only to review the proposed project, but to indicate whether or not their company may be interested in supporting such a project if a suitable proposal is prepared that is aligned with their needs.

If a sufficient number of companies express interest, the project moves to the proposal preparation phase. Depending on the origin of the project idea this may involve identifying researchers that AMIRA will partner with to undertake the necessary R&D. This could entail partnering with multiple institutions from around the world.

Once a proposal is prepared is finalized, it is circulated to members and other interested parties seeking funding support. The proposal may be accompanied with a significant marketing campaign which could include roadshows, one-on-one meetings, and seminars etc.

It should be noted that a project may be designed to follow a co-opetition model whereby competitors can collaborate to fund the project and share equally in the results. However, it is also possible to develop projects whose participation is restricted to companies who are not direct competitors or companies that at different parts of the supply chain or both.

Once sufficient commitment is secured, the project will officially commence.

Project commencement and oversight

Once the project has attracted sufficient funding to commence, the project moves into oversight mode. This involves several important initial tasks. Firstly, executing a research agreement with the research partners. Secondly and concurrently, scheduling a kick-off meeting that brings together the research team and sponsor representatives. This first meeting is essential to ensure that priorities are agreed, the project protocols and any potential anti-trust related issues are fully understood, and sponsor expectations clarified. Subsequent to this, sixth monthly progress reviews are scheduled but supplemented by quarterly progress reports. Thirdly, at the beginning of each project, sponsors are invoiced for year-one sponsorship and then subsequently at the anniversary of start-up for the subsequent sponsorship installments. AMIRA pays researchers quarterly in arrears based on achieving milestones.