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Applications to participate in ON Accelerate are now open!

Visit the ON Accelerate Application Portal to start your application to join our ON Accelerate 9 cohort.

To be notified of all future rounds and other ON Program opportunities, please subscribe to our mailing list.

If you have questions about ON Accelerate, please contact us via email:

ON Accelerate is a three-month free commercialisation acceleration program for entrepreneurial researchers who are ready to translate their great idea into a research-driven company.

Tailored to the translation of publicly funded research, this program focuses on business models, market validation, storytelling and capital raising. This includes access to venture capital partners and networks to help secure capital for business development.

All IP remains the property of the team or their sponsoring institute. Participants are required to sign non-disclosure agreements for IP protection.

What teams will get out of ON Accelerate

Through personalised coaching and group work, ON Accelerate will:

  1. Equip, empower and energise teams to tackle the commercialisation journey.
  2. Support the whole team to develop entrepreneurial skills including networking, pitching and investor engagement.
  3. Assist teams with identifying their customer and the specific problem that they are solving.
  4. Build and validate investment ready, innovative, sustainable and scalable business models.
  5. Introduce teams to venture funding opportunities, helping them develop a network of experts, investors and supporters and preparing them to succeed.

Throughout the program, you will be connected to a network of experts and coaches who will support (and challenge) you. The domain coaches you may work with are specialists in the following areas:

  • performance coaching
  • IP
  • finance and contract management
  • investor relations
  • media management
  • team building.

Teams will also be able to access ongoing coaching post program for a duration of up to 6-months.

Watch the video below to hear from our participants and facilitators directly.

[Music plays and images move through to show various ON Accelerator Programme signs, and then attendees at the event]

[Image changes to show Associate Professor Lea Kirkham talking to the camera, and text appears: Associate Professor Lea Kirkham, Participant, ON Accelerate 7]

Associate Professor Lea Kirkham: I’d highly recommend that research teams participate in the Accelerate programme.

[Images move through to show people seated at tables talking together, the audience listening, people in conversations at tables again, and then Lea giving a presentation]

It really helps you focus on where you need to be going, who your customer is, what assumptions you’ve made about them, and all these real questions that we probably haven’t been thinking about. 

[Image changes to show Lea talking to the camera]

And we’re really challenged to work out what’s our business, who are our customers and where we would be in the next year or five years.

[Image changes to show David Ireland talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a group in conversation looking at a laptop, and text appears: David Ireland, Facilitator, ON Accelerate]

David Ireland: Our job is to give them some frameworks and help them think through, how do I approach this problem in a different way than I have before.

[Images move through to show an audience listening to a panel on the stage, a close view of the panel, a close view of the audience listening and talking]

And so to do that we’ve got guest speakers coming through and showing their experiences. 

[Image changes to show a team seated at a round table in conversation]

We’ve got mentors and coaches here, whose job is to kind of walk in, throw a grenade and see how the team reacts.

[Image changes to show another team seated at the table working together, and then David talking to the camera]

We’ve had venture capitalists come through and talk about fund raising, how the teams might be able to use that, and talk to the team about some of our highs and the lows and the pitfalls and the things to watch out for and some tips around what they might be able to do to also be successful.

[Images move through to show David talking with a team, a team in conversation at a round table, and then David talking to the camera]

It’s almost about undermining their confidence and making them realised that a lot of stuff that they thought was true may not actually be true.

[Image changes to show Andy Lamb talking to the camera, teams seated at round tables listening to a speaker, close views of various speakers at the microphone, and Lea giving a presentation, and text appears: Andy Lamb, Mentor and facilitator, ON Programme]

Andy Lamb: I think the, you know, proudest moment is seeing where the teams start and then really, you know, the progression that they go to like where they’re going to be standing on stage and delivering their final pitches. 

[Image changes to show a person giving a presentation]

Just seeing a bit of that professionalism that comes out. 

[Images move through to show a male walking up onto the stage, and then a close view of him giving a presentation]

They’re a lot more focussed. 

[Image changes to show two males in conversation]

They’re a lot more calm so that, you know, when they move beyond this their journey is only just beginning. 

[Image changes to show Andy talking to the camera]

So, it’s exciting.

[Music plays and image changes to show text on a dark blue screen: Find out more at –]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency] 

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Keen to know more? Discover how these 10 tips can supercharge your research team’s journey in CSIRO’s ON Accelerate program.

Incentive funding for teams

In addition to funding the total cost of participation (valued at over $150,000**), the ON Accelerate program offers several payments of up $180,000 per team based on performance and to fast-track their market traction during and post-program.

This figure includes:

  • $20,000 per team, provided to Tech Transfer Officers (TTOs) at the beginning of the program. This type of funding can support specialists like an interim CEO, CFO or entrepreneur-in-residence. It can also be used for materials or services, acting as a co-investment with the team’s organisation.
  • Up to $10,000 for goals achieved in-program.
  • A portion of a $100,000 total pool to be shared across all teams who achieve stretch targets approved by the program facilitators (max. award of $50,000 per team). 
  • Up to $100,000 Runway Booster available per team, awarded post-completion based on commitment and performance during the program. 
  • Bespoke coaching with domain experts throughout the program, plus 6 months’ additional coaching post-program funded for teams who fully meet the participation requirements. 

Teams will be reimbursed for travel and accommodation costs following attendance at in-person program sessions. Conditions apply.

**Value estimated based on calculations made over the course of 2022-2023 and takes into account the projected program budget for 2023-2024.

Who can participate in ON Accelerate and what time commitment is required

To be eligible for ON Accelerate, you must meet each of the following criteria:  

  1. Your team must consist of between three to six participants.
  2. Team members bring diverse experience and expertise. Consider representation from:
    • your colleagues
    • people from other universities or research organisations 
    • community representatives 
    • industry partners
    • university students or someone from your organisation involved in research services, technology transfer office (TTO), communications 
  3. Your team must be able to meet the participation time commitment. The program requires substantial effort, and at least three core team members must be available to participate in the in-person workshops and coaching sessions held throughout the program.
  4. Your team must be able to manage the equivalent of one full-time person to build your venture outside of workshop and coaching sessions. This workload can be shared among team members.

All team members must be based in Australia for the duration of the program.

Your team must include:

  • one person who is a researcher at an Australian university or research organisation; OR
  • a current or recently completed (<24 months) PhD student from an Australian university or research organisation

Teams from an Australian startup or SME that have licensed or acquired intellectual property (IP) from an Australian university or publicly funded research organisation are also eligible to apply. It’s important that your team includes a member from the research organisation where your IP is licensed.

For teams aiming to attract venture capital, it’s essential to be established as a company with the authority to commercially transact using the IP.

How ON Accelerate is delivered

ON Accelerate provides individualised support for each team to meet you where you are and help you accelerate to market. Our end goal is that each team will leave the program with a solid business model, a well-defined path to commercialisation and a clear trajectory for success.

  • Bootcamp
  • Emersion
  • Program: Mix of face to face and virtual sessions (week 1 to 15)
Overview of ON Accelerate delivery


Up to 20 teams are selected from the online application process to participate in a two-day selection bootcamp, delivered face-to-face. Bootcamp will be an opportunity for teams to demonstrate their product-market fit, customer interest and team strength.

As part of the bootcamp selection process, we'll bring together a network of investors from the Australian deep tech venture capital community.

The top teams from bootcamp will be invited to participate in a week-long immersion program.

Immersion week

Immersion week will support teams to increase their knowledge of the entrepreneurial journey, develop skills, progress their initiative, and network with peers, mentors and startup experts. This will be delivered as a face-to-face session.

At the end of the immersion, the top teams will be invited to participate in the full three-month program.

[Music plays and a split circle appears and photographs of various CSIRO activities flash through on either side of the circle, and then the circle morphs into the CSIRO logo]

[Image changes to show Riccardo Natoli talking to the camera]

Riccardo Natoli: I think for the first time I feel like what it must be like to go back to kindergarten. 

[Images move through to show groups collaborating at tables, and then the audience listening to various speakers on stage]

I had to really learn knowledge that I hadn’t really had the chance to learn previously, and new skills sets and meet new people. 

[Images move through to show Riccardo talking with two males who are shaking hands, and then Riccardo talking to the camera]

So, for me it’s really like going back to school and I’m loving the process.

[Images move through to show Dr Anthea Roberts talking to the camera, the audience listening to a speaker, participants at a table, Anthea talking to the camera, and various ON signs]

Dr Anthea Roberts: There is nothing like this in a university context to start to give you these ideas about how you actually would take ideas from the university into market.

[Music plays and images move through to show participants seated at tables listening to a panel, a close view of the panel, and audience members listening and nodding]

[Image changes to show Joanne Jacobs talking to the camera, a female talking to a group of participants, a group of participants at a table, and Joanne talking to the camera again]

Joanne Jacobs: So this week we’re at ON Accelerate Immersion and all the teams are really getting into the groove of what it takes to actually build a start up and create something that has longevity, sustainability, investability.

[Music plays, and images move through of the audience listening to a speaker, a close view of an audience member listening, and participants talking together at a table]

[Image changes to show Dr Ben Leita talking to the camera]

Dr Ben Leita: You’ve got the idea, now you’ve got to create the company out of it. 

[Images move through to show a speaker at the podium, various groups of participants collaborating together, panel members on the stage, and participants at a table]

So, you’ve come in, you’ve got an intense week of learning all these tools, how we piece this jigsaw puzzle together to make a company a reality.

[Image changes to show Anthea talking to the camera, a panel seated on the stage, a close view of various panel members talking, and a male being handed a microphone]

Dr Anthea Roberts: The most enjoyable part of Immersion week so far is that I’m an innovation junkie so I just love hearing all of the speakers talk about the innovations there is and actually get to enjoy them while being part of a company that’s taken part in this sort of approach.

[Images move through to show the male talking into the microphone, Joanne talking on stage, and audience members listening and applauding]

[Images move through to show a male talking on stage, audience members laughing, Ben talking to the camera, Ben talking with participants, various groups in conversation, and Anthea talking on stage]

Dr Ben Leita: To come here as an expert and help give my skills, my experience to the teams, you see just every day they grow in confidence, they grow in their understanding, they grow the company into something that could be a reality one day.

[Image changes to show Joanne talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a female giving a presentation]

Joanne Jacobs: Over the 14 weeks, they have to prioritise what matters to their business. 

[Image changes to show a distance view of the female giving the presentation, and then the image changes to show Joanne talking to the camera]

They need to think about what’s going to be their investment pathway and how they’re going to take their ideas to the world.

[Music plays, and images flash through of various groups of participants talking and laughing, the audience watching the panel onstage, and audience members listening]

[Images continues to flash through of various participants giving presentations at the podium, and then a photograph of the group of participants waving to the camera]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]
Highlights from the ON Accelerate 8 Immersion Week 2024

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ON Accelerate program

Over three-months of the program, teams will meet regularly with facilitators and other teams in the cohort to share progress, key learnings and roadblocks, and hear from successful deep tech founders.

Teams will also have regular one-on-one sessions with domain coaches, investors, mentors and the ON Accelerate facilitators, who will both challenge your thinking and support your development. These sessions ensure the guidance and support is tailored to your team’s focus areas and challenges, to accelerate your venture faster.

We will work with teams that are accepted into the program to help identify additional capability that may be needed in your team, and work with you to bring in the additional skills needed.

The program culminates with an opportunity to showcase your team’s work to the ecosystem.  Teams will also have the opportunity to pitch to investors as part of an invitation-only event.

Meet our ON Accelerate facilitators

Our program facilitators - David Ireland, Ian Brown, Joanne Jacobs and Andy Lamb - have been integral members of the ON Program facilitation team and will lead ON Accelerate.

These facilitators are regarded as national leaders in innovation and commercialisation. ON Accelerate teams will benefit from their advice and support throughout the course of the program.

ON Accelerate Facilitators: Joanne Jacobs, Ian Brown, Andy Lamb, David Ireland

David Ireland

Dr David Ireland is a diversified impact practitioner, playing the role of investor, consultant, advisor, board director and philanthropist. David currently holds several roles, including Governor of WWF-Australia, Director of Planet Ark Environmental Foundation, and founder of The Growth Drivers and Radian Energy.

An entrepreneur and design & innovation consultant motivated by creating sustainable, meaningful change, David has founded or co-founded a handful of innovation-focused businesses since graduating from tertiary education. These include Rocking Horse Group, ThinkAction, and PentaQuest.

He has worked for over 20 years across a range of sectors, including renewable energy, public health, ESG, agriculture, aquaculture, and financial services, where he has founded, invested in, and advised businesses, researchers, government, and not-for-profits as they attempt to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our planet.

Ian Brown

Ian Brown is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Chairman and Director with more than 20 years of board level experience with Australian and international innovation companies.

He has significant experience in areas of CleanTech, AgTech, FoodTech, MaterialsTech, MiningTech, Oil&GasTech, MedTech and HealthTech commercialisation and startups.

Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs is an experienced digital strategist and company director, and she is the Co-CEO (with Gavin Heaton) of Disruptors Co, a firm that facilitates innovation in enterprise.

She is an Industry Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, and she is an active mentor of startups.

In her career, Joanne has worked in London where she ran a social media production house, and she was a consultant in social networking technologies, as well as a professional speaker, business coach, trainer and strategist. Joanne also has a long history in academia, lecturing extensively in strategy, technology, marketing and communications.

Andy Lamb

Andy Lamb has a career of doing things differently. Working from large global financial services and management consulting organisation through to starting and founding a number of his own software tech businesses. He has spun out technology from Swinburne University after completing his Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

An angel investor in his own right and a strong supporter of Australia’s startup and innovation ecosystem, Andy now focusses his time on providing leadership development and innovation services to deep tech and innovative startups. He is able to switch roles from facilitator, coach, mentor and MC.

He brings a unique focus based on startup thinking and creativity/growth mindset. He has filled roles such as Honorary Fellow of Innovation, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Intrapreneur and of course as an Entrepreneur.

He currently runs his own consultancy, Innovation Studios and is a non-executive director of the IPS foundation focusing on providing developing indigenous entrepreneurship and business skills.

Applications are now open!

We are now accepting applications for our next cohort, ON Accelerate 9. It is anticipated that the delivery for this cohort will run from November 2024 to June 2025. If you are interested in applying, visit the ON Accelerate Application Portal.

To be the first to hear of all future rounds and ON Program opportunities, please subscribe to our mailing list.

If you're a researcher or a startup/SME founder considering applying for a future round of ON Accelerate, here's a tip - assemble a team and review the evaluation criteria below to maximise your chances of success.

How to apply

Applying to participate in ON Accelerate is a multi-step process:

  1. Submit an online application
    Each team is required to register via the online application portal then submit an application. Please note that this is an in-depth application, so feel free to download the pdf form to help prepare for the questions (see our application guide for more detail).
  2. Application review and evaluation
    At the closure of the application period, all applications will be reviewed by representatives of their lead organisation. This is to ensure that each team has engaged their sponsoring institute and has full support to participate in the program. Each application is evaluated by multiple experts from our extended network. The highest rated applications will be invited to participate in the two-day selection bootcamp.
  3. Participate in selection bootcamp and immersion week
    The top teams participate in a two-day selection bootcamp, before progressing to immersion week. After immersion week, the final cohort are selected for ON Accelerate.

The clarity of your application will be assessed based on the following key points:

  • the solution and value proposition for their product or service
  • evidence of the problem that their solution addresses
  • the identified target market and customer segments of their product or service
  • strength and coverage of relevant skillsets within the team
  • demonstration of commercially relevant traction or uptake of their technology
  • alignment between the team goal and objectives of ON Accelerate
  • evidence that a startup venture is the most appropriate pathway to impact. 

Want to know more?

Watch a recording of our ON Accelerate information session. [NB. the session took place in early July, 2023.]

ON Accelerate information session

Our next information sessions about the ON Accelerate 9 cohort will be held Wednesday, 10 July 2024, 12-1pm and Thursday, 1 August 2024, 12-1pm. Please fill out this expression of interest form if you are interested in attending.

Interested in our alumni teams?

Visit our ON Program Alumni website to find out more.

ON Accelerate Application Portal

ON Accelerate is a structured, full-time accelerator for research teams to validate and develop high potential innovative ventures.

Apply now

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