The ON accelerator: Fast tracking science to the world

By Ellen Singleton

16 August 2016

4 minute read


When you think of science researchers you might picture men and women standing in a lab, looking dutifully at a laptop screen or pouring different coloured liquid into test tubes.

We adore science (obviously), and don’t get us wrong, we love beakers and crisp white lab-coats. But what we love even more is turning big ideas into big realities – realities that could change the way we live or address some of the biggest challenges of today – and now we want you to help us.

Our fair land has no shortage of gifted sci-tech researchers that are full of amazing ideas and projects. But it can be a real challenge to get those ideas out of the lab and into the market, and unfortunately we’ve got the stats to back that up. Australia currently ranks last out of 33 OECD countries (FYI that’s the big group of countries that work together to stimulate economic progress and world trade) in research to business collaboration performance– the kind of collaboration that leads to better economic productivity and profitability for companies.

To us, that’s a pretty clear sign that we need to pick up the pace.

Enter the ON accelerator

Our very own accelerator, ON, is bringing together the best and brightest research minds in a partnership that will see universities fast-track their science and technology innovation.

“There are many digital accelerators in Australia, but science accelerators are rare anywhere. ON brings to bear CSIRO’s strength as a national, mission-directed agency to bridge the gap between industry and research and really catalyse innovation,” says our Chief Executive, Larry Marshall.

“There is no doubt Australia has an enviable pipeline of world-class research, but we can achieve more if we work together to fast-track more inventions from lab-bench to reality.

“That’s the role of ON. More than just commercial outcomes, ON is about connecting our university partners to Australia’s challenges to identify the real-world applications for their science to deliver positive social, economic and environmental impact for Australia.”

Under our 12 week intensive program, researchers from each university will gain access to a national network of mentors from private industry and the investment community. But most importantly, there will be commercial experts on hand to help them build the skills required to turn their amazing ideas into commercially viable outcomes.

Bring it ON

We’ve already been the proud (metaphorical) parents of amazing ON graduates and their innovations. These include the ultra-low gluten barley Kebari (recently commercialised with a German beer company); Cardihab, the Smartphone app that supports cardiac rehabilitation in any location and Hovermap, an intelligent software system for unmanned aerial vehicle’s that allows them to access and monitor critical but dangerous national infrastructure. We’ve got support from over a dozen major universities in Australia that have joined the program, with one of the first being Macquarie University.

Macquarie University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Performance and Innovation), Professor Peter Nelson said the ON experience is one of significant benefit, and that they are proud to continue their involvement as a partner.

“The ON accelerator is an invaluable tool to get our teams out of their comfort zone, into the market and testing hypothesises and assumptions around their research and product,” says Professor Nelson.

“It’s one thing to incubate great ideas, it’s entirely another to connect those ideas with customers, suppliers and partners and establish the venture capital blocks to build opportunity and an outcome.”

Get ON board

The ON accelerator is open to employees of Australia’s publicly funded research agencies (PFRAs), this can include our own wonderful staff or researchers at Australian universities as well!

Your team can also bring Commercialisation Managers, IP Managers, PhD candidates or marketing specialists to participate, we just need at least one full-time employee from an eligible PFRA.

So, you think you’ve got what it takes to impress us with your big idea? Get ON it now! Apply for the accelerator here.