The Australian Government’s research translation and commercialisation agenda is a $2.2 billion investment to place university innovation and industry collaboration front and centre of Australia’s economic recovery.
Key initiatives which are reforming Australia’s research commercialisation landscape include Australia’s Economic Accelerator, the National Industry PhD Program, expansion of CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures, and establishment of the Trailblazer Universities Program.
These initiatives support the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation's priority funding areas (renewables and low emissions technologies, medical science, transport, value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, value-add in resources, defence capability and enabling capabilities) ensuring government research investment is focused in sectors where Australian research can build scale and have real-world impact.
These programs will see universities, industry and government partner together on effective research. They will align and prioritise investment across sectors and boost collaboration between universities and industry, driving commercial returns.
Key success factors
The research translation and commercialisation agenda reflects key principles heard through consultation. It also incorporates analysis of successful international programs which provide five success factors. These factors can increase commercialisation and deliver positive economic outcomes, they include:
- At scale investments – government funding is at scale and sustained over longer-term horizon.
- Focus on specific priorities – commercialisation investments typically directed at national priorities where industry demand and research capability are strong.
- Industry leadership – entrepreneurs and companies pull ideas through the innovation pipeline rather than relying on academics pushing ideas out.
- Well-established connections – collaboration between universities and industry that is synergistic and includes workforce mobility.
- Engaged research institutions – research institutions are open and engaged with industry.
Outcomes and actions
Australia’s Economic Accelerator
$1.6 billion new stage-gated program dedicated to funding translation and commercialisation in the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation's priority areas. The program will offer funding through AEA Ignite (proof-of-concept) and AEA Innovate (proof-of scale) grants. The expanded Main Sequence Ventures Fund will also provide a source of venture capital investment for commercial opportunities which arise from the program.
Trailblazer Universities Program
$370.3 million over four years from 2021–2022 to 2025–2026 to support select universities boost prioritised research and development, and drive commercialisation outcomes with industry partners. This includes a total of $45 million for participating universities to partner with CSIRO and access specialist equipment to supercharge their commercialisation capabilities.
National Industry PhD Program
$296 million to establish a suite of Industry PhD and research fellowship schemes that span the research career pathway. This includes funding to establish the National Industry PhD Program that will add over 1,300 Industry PhDs over 10 years, fundamentally challenging promotion and reward structures in Australia’s universities and encouraging mobility and collaboration.
Expanding CSIRO’S Main Sequence Ventures
$150 million to expand CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures as the final stage of Australia’s Economic Accelerator to catalyse venture capital investment in Australian research and development to continue the channel for high value opportunities to be taken to market.
Intellectual Property Framework
A new Intellectual Property (IP) framework for universities will include standardised terms, clauses, and agreements for collaboration on IP licensing, options, and assignment. This will drive greater collaboration by universities and greater uptake of world-class Australian research outputs by Australian industry.
Invest in CSIRO's ON Program
$37.4 million investment in CSIRO's ON Program, based on its proven performance, to build the entrepreneurial and commercialisation skills of university, and other publicly funded researchers. The ON Prime and ON Accelerate programs will improve the ability of researchers to engage with business, and ready them for commercialisation of their research and technologies.