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 national sci-tech accelerator, ‘ON, powered by CSIRO’.
Ten teams announced have been selected for the latest round of ON Accelerate, a structured, full-time accelerator that brings together the experience and expertise of established researchers, entrepreneurs and inspiring mentors.
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.
“The program is built on the shoulders of scientists who have made the leap into business, and likewise business people who have leapt into the world of science.
“Bridging the gap between science and business, ON delivers in a similar way to the prestigious US I-Corps program, which is probably the most successful accelerator in the world.
“The key advantage of ON is that it is backed by the national science agency, and almost every university has jumped in with us to support ON.
“This collaboration across the innovation system is allowing us to deliver game-changing innovations for Australia and the world.”
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 Cook University and CSIRO.
Tony Tucker from the ‘eDNA Field Pump’ team at James Cook University in Townsville said ON had completely changed his view on commercialisation and the value in unlocking important Australian research.
“When we came into Bootcamp, I was initially sceptical about what we could get out of the program, and wasn’t sure what we could actually achieve,” Mr Tucker said.
“But I’m completely won over by the ON program – I now know why this experience is so important.
“The feedback from the mentors and judging panel helped me see how we could have an even greater impact.
“We weren’t thinking big enough. Now I know we can push our technology to even more applications for the world.”
In the 18 months since CSIRO opened the ON accelerator to universities and publicly funded research agencies under the National Innovation and Science Agenda (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.
The 10 big ideas to be fast-tracked through this round of ON Accelerate include:
- 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
- A solar forecasting system – CSIRO, Energy
- 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.
ON Accelerate4 will commence in February 2018 and will run for twelve weeks in hubs across the country, where teams will develop business planning, commercialisation and pitching skills.
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.