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  • Matched funding of 10K - 50K
  • Projects up to 12 months
  • Fully facilitated
  • Eligibility based
  • Apply anytime
CSIRO Kick-Start is an initiative for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses.

R&D support for start-ups and small businesses

Innovation is a major driver of business growth, however many start-ups and small businesses can often face barriers, such as lack of technical expertise or funding, when trying to access research and development ( R&D) to explore new opportunities.

CSIRO's Kick-Start program helps start-ups and small businesses overcome some of these barriers to pursue R&D activities, by providing an end-to-end facilitation service, including:

  • help with articulating your research question
  • connecting businesses with relevant CSIRO researcher expertise and capability - think of us as you in-house R&D division
  • matched funding support to improve the affordability or expand the scope of R&D services.
Program summary
Matched funding Eligible R&D activities Eligibility Criteria Research support
Access up to 2 vouchers between $10K- $50K each*
  • Research into a new idea with commercial potential.
  • Development of a novel or improved product or process
  • Testing of a novel product, developed by the company, to inform research and development activities.
  • < $10M in turnover or operating expenditure OR < 3 years trading
  • Have an ACN/ICN and be registered for GST
  • Must be able to provide matched funding
A CSIRO researcher or research team will work with your business on the R&D project.

* Eligible companies can apply for a second CSIRO Kick-Start project, after completion of their first, providing they continue to fulfil the eligibility requirements and subject to availability. You cannot undertake two Kick-Start projects simultaneously.

[Image appears of text “CSIRO” in the foreground, and Dr Megan Sebben going downstairs can be seen in the background, and text appears: Kick-Start]

Dr Megan Sebben: My name is Megan and I’m the Programme Manager of CSIRO’s Kick-Start programme.

[Images move through to show a close view, and then medium Megan talking to the camera, and then Megan talking with a client and looking at a whiteboard together, and text appears: Dr Megan Sebben, Program Manager – Kick-Start, CSIRO]

The programme exists to help Australian companies that have a scientific or technical challenge that they need some help with and we can provide them dollar match funding that’s going to help them advance their business.

[Image changes to show Megan talking to the camera]

So far we’ve worked with more than 190 companies across 210 projects.

[Images move through of a rear view of Megan going through a doorway, and then Megan sitting with a male client at a table and having a conversation with him]

We’ve helped them develop their products and ultimately get those products out onto the shelf.

[Image changes to show a close and then medium view of Megan talking to the camera]

The benefits the companies get is they get to build a relationship with that research team.

[Images move through of Megan seated with a male and female and in conversation, Megan smiling at the clients, and then Megan talking to the camera]

They can undertake the piece of work often more quickly, or more cheaply than if they needed to raise all the capital themselves.

[Camera zooms in a little on Megan talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show Megan sitting with a male client and talking]

And they’re working with an organisation of experts and bringing that expertise into their business early on.

[Images move through of Megan and the male client in conversation, and then Megan talking to the camera]

So, a problem that a start-up might come to us with is that they require a specific capability that they don’t have in house. So, that’s where the Kick-Start team comes in.

[Images move through of a close view of a laptop, and then a male on a computer screen talking to two people seated at a table]

We fully facilitate the programme. So, you just reach out to us.

[Images move through of a male and female in conversation, Megan talking to the camera, a male looking at an insect picture in a large book, and the male and female’s faces]

Then we will have a chat with you to understand your requirements and where we might be able to assist you. From there we will go through the organisation and find who would be the best research partner and connect you with them directly.

[Images move through to show a male and female looking at a Smartphone screen, a view of a Banded Huntsman on the Smartphone screen, and Megan talking to the camera]

So, if you are an Australian business, you can reach out to us at any time to have that conversation, and you never know where it’s going to take you.

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

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How does it work?

We realise that engaging in R&D can be a daunting prospect, and your facilitator will drive an end-end R&D process.

  1. Submit an Expression of Interest DOCX (51 KB) - once you've identified if you are eligible for the program, so you can tell us a bit more about your proposed project.
  2. Matching - Following this, our experienced Kick-Start facilitators will work with your businesses to try and match you with the relevant CSIRO expertise for your project, typically within two to six weeks.
  3. Project gets underway - once we've been able to find you a match, you'll be invited to submit a full application process to get the project underway.

While the Kick-Start team will do their best to find a match, please note it may not always be possible to find suitable research expertise and or the capability to match the requirement of your R&D project. Where this is the case, we will try our best to support you by helping identify suitable alternatives.

Eligible projects

Your project scope could be anything from:

  • Research into a new idea with commercial potential.
  • Developing a brand-new product or service with commercial potential to increase your customer base - We helped CannPal discover natural products to promote better health and well-being for companion animals.
  • Testing a novel product developed by the company - Wash Wild engaged CSIRO to test four key pathogens used in their cleaning products made from Australian native oils.

Please reach out to the facilitation team below if you'd like to discuss your idea. Our case studies also provide good examples of previous projects we have supported.

How much funding does my company need to provide?

Your company needs to match the funding provided by CSIRO. For example, if we provide funding of $50,000, your business must also provide $50,000. This must be a cash contribution and cannot be in-kind.

Please note funding from CSIRO is not provided directly to your business; it is applied as a voucher to defray the costs associated with accessing CSIRO research and capability.

Find out more and apply

For more information and to submit an EOI, please get in touch with our CSIRO Kick-Start Program team.

Need more information?

Read our frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Other R&D support

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