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Applications to participate in ON Accelerate occurs once a year.

To be notified of all future rounds, please subscribe to our mailing list.

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

ON Accelerate is a free program that gives teams the skills and support to validate and develop a high potential innovative venture. ON Accelerate is designed to launch research-driven companies into market.

The program focusses on business models, market validation, capital raising and storytelling. We provide support and integration with venture capital partners to bring capital and next-step runway into a company.

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

What teams will get out of ON Accelerate

ON Accelerate will provide teams with knowledge and skills in the areas they need to develop their high potential innovative venture. The program will accelerate your teams' capacity to create a disruptive, high-impact deep-tech venture.

This immersive, personalised and bespoke technology commercialisation acceleration program will:

  1. Equip, empower and energise teams to commercialise discoveries through start-ups.
  2. Develop entrepreneurial skills through engaging content, intensive coaching and peer-to-peer learning.
  3. Assist teams with identifying and validating unresolved problems so they can establish and connect with 'First Best Customer' and partner with velocity.
  4. Build and validate investment ready, innovative, sustainable and scalable business models.
  5. Introduce teams to venture funding opportunities and prepare them to succeed.
[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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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.

By the end of ON Accelerate, teams should have:

  • learned entrepreneurial skills to complement your strong technical expertise
  • confirmed first best customers and potential industry partners
  • developed a sustainable and scalable business model
  • strengthened your networking, pitching and investor engagement skills
  • developed a broader network of experts, investors and supporters.

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

Our end goal is that teams that complete the full ON Accelerate program will be attractive for external funding. See also, 'Incentive funding available for teams' section below. 

These 10 tips will help research teams maximise the benefits of participating in a structured accelerator program, like CSIRO’s ON Accelerate.

Incentive funding available 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 TTOs at the outset of the program to enable the engagement of specialist expertise to support and enhance the team during the program. This may include the cost of hiring an interim CEO, CFO, entrepreneur-in-residence or other key specialist who can fill an immediate gap in the team’s collective skillset. It can also be treated as a co-investment with the team’s organisation to provide specific materials or services needed to progress advancement.
  • 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 participate in ON Accelerate, you must meet each of the following criteria:  

  1. Your team must consist of between three to six participants.
  2. We are seeking diverse experience and expertise from your team. 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 

The program requires substantial effort and commitment, and at least three core team members must be available to participate in the in-person level-ups, workshops and coaching sessions held throughout the program.

Teams must be able to commit the equivalent of at least one full-time person to the project, with the workload shared across the team. Teams wanting to attract venture capital are expected to have at least one team member available full-time.

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 has IP licenced or acquired from an Australian university or publicly funded research organisation are also eligible to apply and participate in the program. Your team must include a member from the research organisation where your IP is licensed from.

Teams wanting to attract venture capital will need to be established as a company with the rights to commercially transact using the IP.

How ON Accelerate is delivered

ON Accelerate is focussed on supporting teams to develop the skills and confidence they need to successfully take their research from idea to market.

We will provide 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 clear path to commercialisation and a clear runway. 

  • 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.

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 1:1 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. Top teams will also have the opportunity to pitch to investors as part of an invitation-only event.

It is anticipated that program dates for ON Accelerate 8 will be as follows: 

  • Bootcamp: Monday, 20 November to Thursday, 23 November 2023
  • Immersion: Monday, 12 February to Friday, 16 February 2024
  • ON Accelerate Program: Monday, 26 February to Monday, 3 June 2024

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.

David Ireland

David Ireland: ON Accelerate facilitator

David Ireland is a co-founder and director of Radian Energy and The Growth Drivers. 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.

David is a Board Member of Planet Ark, as well as a Governor of WWF Australia. David is also an adjunct professor in innovation and entrepreneurship at The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law.

Ian Brown

Ian Brown: ON Accelerate facilitator

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: ON Accelerate facilitator

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 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.

Andy Lamb: ON Accelerate facilitator

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.

Next round

Applications for ON Accelerate 8 are now closed. It is anticipated that the delivery for this round will run from November 2023 to June 2024. To be notified of all future rounds, 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 to maximise your chances of success.

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. 

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. Access to the portal will be made available when applications open.
  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.

Have a question?

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

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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