The tool, called "Are you research ready?", is a guide to successful industry-led research collaboration, and comes after it was repeatedly identified at the recent AOG Expo in Perth that Australian academia had a poor record of commercialising ideas in the resources patch, though it's great at obtaining funding and writing papers.
NERA's initiative aims to help companies build local business capabilities, allowing them to better identify and collaborate with researchers, address "genuine and well-defined" industry problems and achieve commercial outcomes.
NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said it became very clear through the group's extensive engagement with the energy resources sector since it started operations last year that many businesses did not have the knowledge or capabilities to strategically prepare for engagement with researchers.
These businesses often understand their commercial issues but struggle to investigate and articulate these for the research environment or effectively manage a variety of short to long-term research collaborations.
Companies need to develop a unique set of skills to manage this process.
"It quickly became apparent to us that SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in particular were not engaging with the research community and large operators were having mixed success," Taylor said.
"In effect, knocking on the door but not knowing the right questions to ask has been a major barrier to achieving more industry-led research and creating economic value for Australia.
"In today's rapidly changing economic, social and technological environment, businesses are looking to move into new markets, improve their current products and processes, develop new ones or diversify their business into new sectors.
"To be successful, these businesses will need to clearly articulate what they want to achieve, scope out applied research questions and identify the best opportunities for research collaboration."
This will require more than short term thinking; and publicly-funded research organisations such as universities and state and federal laboratories are ready and available to engage in various collaborations.
NERA's research document provides a tool for businesses to dissect their corporate needs, identify opportunities for innovation and improved productivity and helps them find the right research partner.
The tool will also help entrepreneurs and innovators identify and best leverage research funding mechanisms.