The Australian Government is investing $1.6 billion to accelerate reform in the higher education sector for the translation and commercialisation of university research through a new stage-gated funding program, Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA). The AEA will support translation and commercialisation activities aligned with national research priorities and will be supported by expert governance arrangements. The program will develop a pipeline from discovery through to commercialisation, ensuring Australia reaps the benefits of investment in research within the university sector.
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Applications for Australia’s Economic Accelerator Seed Grants are closed.
About the program
Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA) is a new research funding program designed to shift the dial on Australian research by supporting the translation and commercialisation of our world leading research in the university sector. The AEA will help create a research ecosystem where our world-class research is translated into real world innovations and productivity gains.
The AEA will operate as a priority-driven grant program to support projects aligned with national research priorities with high commercial opportunity.
Funding will be available to universities, and applicants will partner with industry. Grants will be offered on a rolling basis.
The AEA is a fast-fail model designed to attract projects at a proof of concept or proof of scale level of commercial readiness that have high commercialisation potential.
Projects will progress through the program, based on continued success and achievement of milestones. To incentivise ongoing excellence, the quantum of AEA funding increases as projects mature towards at-scale commercialisation.
The expanded Main Sequence Ventures fund provides a high-value opportunity for projects that successfully progressed through the AEA. Alternatively, outcomes from the AEA can be picked up by businesses who can take them forward or by other sources of venture capital investment (including through other schemes such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the National Reconstruction Fund).
Industry participation will be critical to the success of the program. Examples of industry involvement include embedded industry experts, memoranda of understanding, in-kind support, formal partnerships and co investment.
The AEA will be governed by an expert commercialisation board, supported by expert Priority Managers. The AEA Board will consist of up to eight members, who will possess experience and knowledge in research and its commercialisation, and represent government, industry, and research sectors.
Priority Managers will be highly qualified, experienced, and motivated business and technology specialists. Priority Managers will work with successful applicants to help foster connections and secure formal collaboration arrangements with industry partners.
The AEA Board will oversee the Priority Managers and advise the Minister for Education on the commercialisation of research through a Research Commercialisation Strategy, which is to be developed every five years from 2022–23.