Australia-India research fund gets Cochlear implants to citizens

Australian-made Cochlear implant technology has given hundreds of Indians the gift of hearing, thanks to a research fund enabling Australian technology-makers access to the Indian market.

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr visited the Cochlear Implant Unit at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, India last week, as part of a business trip to India to promote the fund.

Senator Carr was gauging the merits of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, developed by the government to power innovation collaboration in critical areas like oncology, marine science, agriculture, water management and nanotechnology. 

“The ground-breaking bionic ear technology developed by Australian company Cochlear Limited has helped bring sound to over 200,000 severely or profoundly deaf people world-wide," Senator Carr said. 

"At the Cochlear Implant Unit, Australian technology is helping Indian doctors identify which babies could benefit the most from a cochlear implant, rather than other treatments. This is important because the earlier children are fitted with hearing aids the better.

“Research has shown us that early exposure to sound helps babies develop the connections in the brain that enable them to understand the sounds around them for the rest of their life.”

The Cochlear implant helps hearing-impaired people who are unable to benefit from traditional hearing aids. 

The implants are manufactured entirely in Australia and exports make up 95% of its sales. 

Senator Carr highlighted the great research partnership Australia and India have, saying the countries had a lot to offer each other.

“That is why we developed the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. The Australian Government has proudly invested $65 million in this Fund and our contribution has been matched by the Government of India,” Senator Carr said.

“We know that both nations can maximise the value of their research investments by pooling funding and sharing skills, equipment and facilities. This will help us tackle shared challenges such as climate change and disease.” 

Click for more information on the Fund.