CSIRO expand research and development funding program

The CSIRO Kick-Start Program seeks to serve as a catalyst for change, providing comprehensive facilitation to overcome R&D challenges, ultimately boosting innovation and economic growth in Australia.

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Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, is expanding its CSIRO Kick-Start program, opening the door to more small businesses seeking research and development (R&D) funding and expertise. The significant change in criteria for the program means businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million are now eligible, a notable increase from the previous limit of $1.5 million.

This initiative is geared towards supporting Australian small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and scale-ups by offering facilitation and dollar-matched funding. These resources grant them access to CSIRO's extensive research capabilities for R&D projects initiated by the companies themselves.

The Program, launched in 2017, has already played a crucial role in more than 260 small business projects, contributing nearly $24 million to R&D activities. As a result of this support, these companies have collectively seen their market value surpass the $2 billion mark.

Dr. Doug Hilton, CSIRO's newly appointed Chief Executive, said the expansion highlights the agency's commitment to fostering Australian entrepreneurship and innovation.

“CSIRO can absolutely play a role in supporting SMEs to embrace research and in stimulating entrepreneurship among our scientists and others in the community,” Dr Hilton said.

“Expanding the eligibility of the CSIRO Kick-Start program means we can offer more Australian businesses, more Australian innovators, more Australian entrepreneurs' access to the resources, knowledge, and support they need to flourish.”

The program's scope is vast, encompassing a diverse range of sectors, from AI-powered technology to native skincare, hydrogen prototypes, and Indigenous farming.

Key elements of the program include:

  • Facilitation to help refine the research question
  • Connecting businesses with relevant CSIRO researcher expertise and capability - think of us as your in-house R&D division
  • Dollar-matched funding support to improve the affordability or expand the scope of R&D services

Dr. Megan Sebben, the CSIRO Kick-Start Program Manager, emphasizes the crucial role this initiative plays in bringing technologies to market rapidly.

In today's ever-evolving business landscape, innovation is the driving force behind success, and this program seeks to break down barriers that often hinder R&D access for start-ups and SMEs, such as limited expertise and funding constraints.

To read more about the CSIRO Kick-Start Program, go to the CSIRO website here.

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