STEM+ Business enables SMEs to build on existing successful collaborative projects by providing funding support for the placement of early career researchers from Australia’s research organisations into their business to develop and implement new ideas with commercial potential.

The STEM+ Business program places early-career science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) researchers into SME businesses for two to three year research projects. The program aims to build deeper connections between researchers and SMEs, accelerate the adoption of new ideas and technology, and help SMEs grow into larger and more profitable organisations.

As the exclusive industry partner delivering the Science and Industry Endowment Fund’s (SIEF) STEM+ Business Fellowship program, our team works alongside the SME and research organisation to establish the project and facilitate financial assistance in the form of a STEM+ Business grant of up to $105,000 per annum, which must be matched in cash by the business.

The research project can be carried out in conjunction with any publicly-funded Australian research organisation and has no industry sector-restrictions – the project must simply be research involving science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Eligibility – Who can access STEM+ Business?

Australian SMEs that:

  • Have completed, or be in the process of completing, an AusIndustry Researcher-in-Business or Research Connections / Innovation Connections project.
  • Have an annual turnover or operating expenditure between $1.0m and $100m in the current or two preceding financial years, AND
  • Has collaborated with a research organisation on a 1-1 basis for at least 5 months, with the company contributing at least $25k.

The program is specifically designed for early-career researchers (ECRs), and will provide personal development opportunities in industry-relevant research, commercial awareness and potential future employment opportunities. To be eligible, each ECR must:

  • Have completed a research higher degree (PhD or Masters) in a STEM subject, or have a bachelor’s degree in engineering with relevant research experience, AND
  • Have no more than 6 years relevant experience since conferral of their last degree.

If there is no ECR currently available at the chosen research organisation, funding can still be approved on the condition that an eligible ECR be hired at the start of the project.

STEM+ Business case studies

Over 25 businesses and researchers have enrolled in the STEM+ Business program since July 2016, in projects as diverse as automating aquaculture farming, developing a cat allergy vaccine, and turning coconut waste into carbon fibre.

Since the commencement of the program 28 early career researchers have benefited from hands-on business operations exposure, a growing number of research papers have been developed and published, and companies are fast-tracking their products and processes to commercialisation stage.

We’ve profiled five of the exciting projects that have been enabled by the STEM+ Business program. You can read about them below.

This program is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) .

Find out more and apply

You can find our program eligibility and guidelines as well as Expressions of interest form below. For further information and to apply, please get in touch with our dedicated STEM+ Business Manager.

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