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Applications for this cohort have closed

Register your interest in upcoming intakes

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

This program is open to Australian SMEs working on innovative technologies or solutions in the agricultural and food industry.

This program is supported by the CSIRO Trusted Agrifood Export Mission and Future Protein Mission. Businesses working on innovative ideas that can be assisted by these missions are highly encouraged to apply. Details of the eligible sub-sector are included in the list below. 

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, hearing from experts, and networking with researchers and R&D mentors.
  • Collaborating with like-minded SMEs and expanding your professional network.

Course outline


The program is made up of virtual webinars and self-paced learning as follows:

Preparing for the program (week commencing 24 October, approximately 3-4 hours)

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

Week 1: Workshop (Official start date 2 November, approximately 4.5 hours)

  • The program's main compulsory component is a half-day workshop covering the program concept. 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 ideas and business cases.
  • Fortnightly webinars for participant networking and guest speakers.
  • A final questionnaire is required at completion.
  • Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours per week.

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 relevant specialists
  • Build your network: You will build key contacts in your sector, including researchers at CSIRO and universities, domain experts, funding professionals and other SMEs.

Who can apply

This program is open to eligible SMEs working in agrifood subsectors listed below. SME’s working on solutions aligned to the CSIRO trusted agrifood exports and future proteins missions are encouraged to apply. 

  • Alternative proteins
  • Meat and meat processing
  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Livestock
  • Beverage and/or fermentation
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Other

Selection criteria (essential):

  • An Australian registered and operating business with an ABN and ACN/ICN (sole traders and partnerships are not currently eligible to apply)
  • 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 idea to work on throughout the program

Other considerations:

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

Please note:

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

We also include participants from a variety of industry sub‑sectors and regions. 

For further information please visit our FAQs.

Program flyer

What program participants are saying

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

Amanda Falconer, Founder of Bestie Kitchen

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

Contact us

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