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Applications open

Applications close on Sunday 17 March 2024.

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Innovate to Grow is a free 10-week virtual, self-paced learning program for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The program will help you explore how research and development (R&D) collaboration can advance your innovative project or idea.

Program detail

This program will assist you in:

  • Refining your innovation idea and learning how to transform it into an R&D opportunity.
  • Accessing tools and information for a comprehensive understanding of R&D collaboration and key considerations at each step.
  • Applying this knowledge to advance your technology or R&D concept.
  • Gaining industry insights from experts, researchers and your mentor.
  • Collaborating with like-minded SMEs and expanding your professional network.

Bestie Kitchen: An agrifood alumni taking a concept commercial

Amanda Falconer, Founder of Bestie Kitchen, participated in the first ever Innovate to Grow program in 2020. This agrifood cohort helped Amanda and other participants understand how R&D can help their businesses grow, and provided links to researchers to ensure they received feedback on their ideas from industry experts.

"[Innovate to Grow] really made research accessible. Before the program, I thought there was no way a tiny company like mine could work with CSIRO or a university. Now it has been demystified!"

Amanda Falconer, Founder of Bestie Kitchen

Learn more about Bestie Kitchen and Amanda's collaboration journey below.

Discover the Bestie Kitchen journey

Course outline

The program is made up of virtual webinars, self-paced learning and one in-person meeting as follows:

Preparing for the program (week commencing 1 April 2024, approximately 3-4 hours)

  • Participants will be provided with an on-boarding session, and pre-workshop videos and materials to assist in preparing for the program.
  • Time commitment is approximately three to four hours.

Week 1: Workshop (Official start date 11 April 2024, approximately 4.5 hours)

  • The program's main compulsory component is a half-day workshop covering the program concepts. Participants will hear from CSIRO industry and research experts as well as relevant industry SMEs. Key topics include trends within your industry sector, a panel discussion with collaborating SMEs, and current funding opportunities for R&D.
  • Time commitment is approximately 4.5 hours.

Week 2-10: Self-paced innovation program

  • Participants will work through the online innovation program at their own pace, supported by a mentor and experienced innovation facilitators to develop and test their research idea and business case.
  • Fortnightly webinars for participant networking and guest speakers.
  • A final survey at completion.
  • Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Program participants will also be invited to an in-person meeting in Perth on 30 May 2024. This meeting will be held following the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development  WA’s ‘Turning the Dial’ event, which program participants can attend at a discounted rate. Attendance at the event is not a requirement to participate in this in-person meeting.

Key program outcomes

  • Personalised support to refine your idea: We'll step you through the process of turning your idea into a viable research project.
  • Confidential feedback: All submissions through the program portal will receive prompt expert feedback.
  • Mentor: You will be provided with a mentor from CSIRO or a university to assist you with understanding the program deliverables and connecting you to a relevant specialist.
  • Build your network: You will build key contacts in your sector, including researchers and other SMEs.

Who can apply

This program is open to eligible SMEs based and operating in Western Australia, working in agrifood subsectors listed below:

  • Meat and meat product manufacturing
  • Agriculture and fishing support services
  • Aquaculture
  • Livestock
  • Beverage manufacturing
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Other

Selection criteria (essential):

  • A business based and operating in Western Australia
  • A business classified as small to medium (less than 200 employees)
  • A business currently, or in the early stages of, exploring R&D opportunities for their business and have an agrifood-related idea to work on throughout the program
  • An Australian registered and operating business with an ABN and ACN/ICN

Please note: Sole traders and partnerships are currently not eligible for the program. Businesses need to be registered and have their primary place of business within Australia (Australian subsidiary companies of foreign entities are not eligible). Researchers working at universities can apply as a mentor but not as a participant.

Other considerations:

  • Any other information provided to support your application
  • Have a clear need to develop your knowledge in R&D

Selection criteria

CSIRO selects businesses based on the strength of their application, and a clear interest and capacity to pursue research and development.

For further information please visit our FAQs.

Program flyer

CSIRO Innovate to Grow is delivered using Practera’s online ed-tech platform and facilitation services.

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