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CSIRO flicks the 'ON' switch to fast track emerging technologies

8 December 2017

A detection system to keep prawns safe from pests, a smarter smaller wind turbine and wearable tech that can screen for gut disorders are some of the emerging technologies that will be fast-tracked though the next round of Australia’s national sci-tech accelerator, ‘ON, powered by CSIRO’.

CSIRO’s ON accelerator was opened up to universities and publicly funded research agencies under the National Science Innovation Agenda (NISA) to bring together the experience and expertise of researchers, entrepreneurs and inspiring mentors to take big ideas from the lab to the market.

The Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy, today announced that 10 teams have been selected for the latest round of ON Accelerate.

“In the two years since CSIRO opened the ON accelerator to universities and publicly funded research agencies under the NISA, it has graduated 200 teams of researchers with the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to fast-track great science and technology innovation from the lab to reality,” Mr Laundy said.

“Turning research into commercial reality is a key feature of NISA, which we launched two years ago this week.

“It’s great to see NISA initiatives like ON Accelerate producing success stories, highlighted by the achievements of the teams featured today.

“The big innovations in this round of ON Accelerate will address key challenges in energy, food and agriculture, water quality, wildlife conservation and health to make up another exciting year of innovation for ON Accelerate,” Mr Laundy said.

ON Accelerate4 will commence in February 2018 and will run for 12 weeks across the country, where teams will develop business planning, commercialisation and pitching skills to take their project to the next level.

The program culminates in ‘ON Demo Night’ where teams will pitch their innovations to an audience of industry experts, investors and potential partners for further funding and support for commercialisation.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said that ON had uncovered science and technology solutions for some of Australia’s biggest challenges in energy, food and agriculture, water quality, wildlife conservation and health.

“Establishing ON was about bringing the Australian research sector closer to Australian industry—creating a pathway to help our scientists turn their excellent science into real-world solutions,” Dr Marshall said.

Selected following a competitive two-day bootcamp, the teams come from the University of Newcastle, Flinders University, Macquarie University, The University of Western Australia, James Curtin University and CSIRO.

Tony Tucker from the ‘eDNA Field Pump’ team at James Cook University in Townsville said ON has completely changed his view on commercialisation and the value in unlocking important Australian research.

“When we came into Bootcamp, I was pretty cynical and wasn’t sure what we could actually achieve. But it has completely changed my view. I now know why this experience is so important,” said Mr Tucker.

The 10 big ideas that will be fast-tracked through this round of ON Accelerate include:

  • A state of the art solar forecasting system – CSIRO Energy
  • Virtual reality technology that allows carers to learn by doing, safely – The University of Newcastle
  • A tool for preventing faults in power network assets before energy catastrophes hit – Curtin University
  • An acoustic belt that uses the natural noises of the gut for health screening – The University of Western Australia
  • An on-the-go field tool for reliable and transportable water monitoring – James Cook University
  • A new pest detection system that cuts costs and time delays for Aussie prawn farmers – CSIRO Agriculture and Food
  • An alternative to the expensive and cumbersome ‘leaky gut’ test for suspected sufferers – CSIRO Health and Biosecurity
  • A new way to beat the current costs and delays in new drug development – Macquarie University
  • On the spot testing for elite athletes and their sport scientists – The University of Western Australia
  • A small wind turbine that can produce nearly twice the power than existing wind turbines of the same size – The University of Newcastle

The 10 successful teams were chosen by ON’s industry mentor network and an expert judging panel of Liddy McCall co-founder of Yuuwa Capital, COO of Performance Assurance Ruth Marshall and Martin Duursma from CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures.

These teams join successful graduates of the ON accelerator like Cardihab, Coivu, Modular Photonics, Silentium Defence and ePat.

Media contact: Minister Laundy's office 02 6277 4345