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27 May 2024 News Release

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is calling on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working on clean energy solutions to apply for the latest ‘Innovate to Grow’ program.  

Since launching in 2020, CSIRO's Innovate to Grow program has equipped over 600 SMEs with the knowledge and tools to explore research and development (R&D) opportunities, and to develop actionable R&D business and funding plans. 

CSIRO has now partnered with Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) to deliver the new Innovate to Grow: Clean Energy program. 

The free online program will provide Australian SMEs a supportive environment with expert facilitators, experienced researchers and self-paced deliverables to guide successful applicants through their technical or business challenges. 

Professor Emmanuel Mastio, Executive Director of TRaCE said SMEs, scaleups and startups are key to building sovereign supply chains on Australia’s path to a clean energy economy. 

“We need to bring our universities into the fold and see a shift in our approach where SMEs and industry are provided greater support to commercialise their innovations and de-risk investment at speed," Professor Mastio said. 

“At TRaCE, we are extremely focused on emissions reductions and our path to Net Zero. We jumped at the opportunity to extend our ecosystem of support through CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow program’s Clean Energy series.” 

CSIRO’s Director of Energy, Dr Dietmar Tourbier, said Australia is well positioned to establish itself as a global leader in clean energy. 

“We have all the ingredients here in Australia for the critical energy minerals that are required to power the clean energy transition,” Dr Tourbier said. 

"There’s an International Energy Agency (IEA) analysis that shows Australia can have the lowest cost clean energy of all OECD countries – we want to help achieve that.” 

SMEs play a crucial role in driving innovation, especially in the clean energy sector. Their agility and innovative approaches are vital in developing sustainable solutions and accelerating the transition to a cleaner energy future. 

Fionna Millikan, Head of Business Development from Green Gravity, participated in CSIRO’s 2023 Innovate to Grow: Energy program. She said the practical advice helped her business to generate new opportunities. 

“The program was very practical and hands-on. [Our facilitator] Tony was an excellent steward and mentor, provided valuable advice, and connected me with potential research partners,” Ms Millikan said. 

Innovate to Grow: Clean Energy is open to SMEs working in the following sub-sectors: 

  • Energy storage 
  • Electrification 
  • Energy modelling and integrated systems 
  • Carbon management 
  • Renewable energy 
  • Renewable heat 
  • Sustainable fuels 
  • Other 

Applications close on 23 June 2024.   

Learn more and apply for the ‘Innovate to Grow’: Clean Energy program, or discover more programs for SMEs.  

TRaCE is delivered by UNSW and the University of Newcastle and supported by the Commonwealth Government. It aims to partner with and support industry, research and education partners to fast-track energy transition. 


CSIRO is exploring the potential of printed flexible solar cells as a reliable energy source.
CSIRO's solar research facility in Newcastle.

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