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By  Michelle Goldsmith 21 July 2023 6 min read

Key points

  • Supporting innovation and commercialising science and technology plays an important role in translating research into real-world results.
  • We offer a range of programs and funding opportunities for businesses looking to innovate, and for researchers seeking to commercialise their research.
  • Many companies have been through multiple CSIRO research and development programs to support their growth at different stages of their research and development journeys.

In today’s world, innovation is more important than ever. Scientific and technological advancements have the potential to help solve humanity’s greatest challenges, support vibrant and resilient economies, ensure better environmental outcomes, and improve people’s lives.

Commercialisation is often a key step in making the products of research and innovation widely available.

Supporting innovation is a critical part of our role as Australia’s national science agency. We offer a range of programs and dollar matched funding opportunities for businesses looking to undertake research and development (R&D).

Whether you’re a scientist looking to commercialise the outcomes of your research, a budding entrepreneur with a great idea, or a business-owner seeking to innovate, we want to help.

Our business programs support Australian innovation at every stage – from initial idea or scientific break-through, to commercial launch. Here's a quick snapshot of our different programs and what they offer!


CSIRO Kick-Start


CSIRO Kick-Start provides facilitation and dollar-matched funding of up to $50,000 per project to enable Australian start-ups and SMEs to undertake R&D projects with our researchers. The program specifically caters to start-ups (under three years old) and SMEs with an annual turnover below $1.5 million, addressing a key industry need.


Nutri V got a kick start


Nutri V is a CSIRO / Fresh Select joint start-up founded through Company Creation. The Melbourne-based company tackles the issue of waste in the food supply chain by producing nutritionally beneficial vegetable powders from processing offcuts, and ugly or excess vegetables. Nutri V undertook a Kick-Start project with our Agriculture and Food researchers, which helped lay the foundations for the company’s current line of commercial snack products.


Nutri V developed a line of nutritious snack foods made using vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. ©  Craig Moodie Photography PtyLtd WWW.CRAIGMOODIE.COM


Innovate to Grow


Innovate to Grow is a free 10-week online program designed to help SMEs in the early decision-making stage of the R&D process. This program supports SMEs who are interested in exploring collaborative innovation with research institutions by guiding them through the process of refining their ideas, assessing the viability of their innovations, building business cases, and preparing strong funding applications.  


Metakosmos innovated to grow


Metakosmos is a Sydney-based start-up specialising in next-generation multi-layered spacesuit technology featuring advanced materials, embedded digital biomechanics and electro-mechanical systems. The company engaged CSIRO Kick-Start to work with our Biomedical Manufacturing team to accelerate the product development process for the integrated data capture and monitoring capabilities of their spacesuits.


While this project was underway, Metakosmos participated in the Innovate to Grow: Space program to help prepare them to engage external R&D collaboration and support. The company also took part in an industry specific ON program.


Metakosmos has since commenced a second Kick-Start project, continuing to advance their novel spacesuit technology.


Metakosmos are designing next-generation high-tech spacesuits with embedded sensor technology.

SME Collaboration Initiative

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) constitute 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses, contributing most of our economic diversity and employment opportunities. However, they frequently lack the resources to undertake extensive R&D independently.

Our SME Collaboration Initiative aims to double the number of SMEs collaborating on R&D projects with publicly funded research institutions by 2030. The initiative underpins and provides strategic support to our SME programs, providing research-driven recommendations and tools to lead change within Australia’s R&D ecosystem.

These include our extensive report exploring barriers and enablers to SME-research collaboration, which provides data-driven recommendations to improve SME engagement, informed by interviews with more than 800 SMEs. Meanwhile, the Collaboration Readiness Tool enables businesses to easily assess and improve their capacity to collaborate with research institutions.

Generation STEM Links

Generation STEM Links, delivered on behalf of the New South Wales Government, connects NSW businesses to students studying STEM degrees and qualifications, via paid industry placements. The program provides facilitation, student-matching services, mentoring and coaching for the participants, as well as dollar-matched funding for the businesses.

The Lindfield Collaboration Hub

The Lindfield Collaboration Hub is a dedicated space for start-ups and SMEs to develop unique, high-tech products and devices. Early stage and established companies can setup at our Lindfield campus to access our facilities, science expertise, business networks and commercialisation experience. 

ON Innovation programs for researchers

Our ON Innovation programs for researchers support Australian researchers to generate social, environmental, and financial impact from their research by helping them develop the skills to engage with business. This helps fast-track the process of bringing new technology and ideas to market.

ON Prime is a free nine-week program designed to help research teams of two-to-five people to take their research projects further through customer discovery and market validation activities to help them better attract industry partners and investment, license intellectual property (IP), or create their own start-up. 

ON Accelerate is a 15-week structured accelerator program for research teams to validate and develop high potential innovative ventures. It offers facilitation, support and funding incentives to gain market traction and engage potential venture capital partners.  

Teams interested in joining ON programs can access financial assistance including up to $5,000 to build their engagement and learning velocity skills with the ON Prime program. A further $180,000 in grant payments are available to teams who want to participate in ON Accelerate. 

Rainstick went ON Accelerate

Rainstick is an Indigenous Australian start-up that combines traditional knowledge and modern technology to cultivate edible fungi. The company’s technology is based on the traditional practice of the Maiawali people of western central Queensland – who buried a lightning stick in ceremony to improve food cultivation. The team at Rainstick apply pulsed high voltage currents to enhance mushroom fruiting in a controlled environment and prevent the growth of detrimental moulds, eliminating the need to use pesticide. 

To help develop their high-potential sustainable agriculture venture, Rainstick undertook the ON Accelerate program with a research collaborator from James Cook University. Rainstick have since signed up to a Kick-Start project, collaborating with our Agriculture and Food research scientists to further explore how tailored bioelectric influences can be used to optimise plant and fungi growth.


Rainstick uses electrical currents to improve the growth of edible mushrooms. The larger mushroom was grown using the technology, while the smaller one is the untreated control.


Company Creation

Company Creation is our Venture Science initiative to build new companies that solve global challenges using ground-breaking science and technology. This involves bringing together the elements (science, investor, entrepreneur, and industry) required to build successful companies to rapidly bring our science and technological innovations to market.

Main Sequence

Main Sequence Ventures invests in deep tech high-growth start-ups with a connection to publicly funded research. Main Sequence was founded to address the ‘valley of death’ between research and commercialisation to help science and technological innovation solve big-picture challenges.   


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