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Applications currently closed

Applications for our upcoming Innovate to Grow: Energy program have closed. Register to stay up to date with future intake openings.

What is the Innovate to Grow Energy program?

Small and medium-sized businesses are a key part of Australia's energy transition, from low emissions technology to energy storage, and there is huge economic opportunity for Australian industry.

However, investing resources in research and development (R&D) to explore new opportunities can often be a daunting prospect for many businesses and hard to navigate.

Innovate to Grow is a free 10-week virtual, self-paced program, that will give you the skills to take an idea to market by harnessing the power of research and development.

This program is open to small to medium-sized businesses keen to solve the energy challenges of tomorrow through new technological innovations spanning hydrogen, low emission technologies, energy storage, energy data systems and energy resources.

Program detail

This program will help you identify what the R&D needs of your business are, and step you though how to turn this into a research and development opportunity.

You will also be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts and work with a sector or R&D mentor.

It's a great opportunity to work alongside other like-minded SMEs and build your networks.

Course outline

The course will help you to:

  • Identify your innovation opportunities.
  • Refine your value proposition.
  • Understand the R&D viability.
  • Help you build your business case.
  • Provide guidance on how to prepare a strong funding application.

The program is delivered in three key phases.

Phase 1: Program preparation

  • 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.

Phase 2 (Week 1): Half-day workshop

  • The program's main compulsory component is a half-day workshop covering the program concept. Participants will hear from CSIRO industry and research energy experts as well as relevant industry businesses working in the energy sector. You will review key trends in the energy sector, hear from a panel discussion with other small and medium-sized businesses to learn about their R&D journey, we well as current funding opportunities for R&D that you can apply for.
  • Time commitment is approximately five hours.

Phase 3 (Week 2-10): Self-paced 60-day online program

  • Participants will work through the online program at their own pace, supported by CSIRO experts and experienced innovation facilitators to develop and test their research ideas and business cases.
  • Optional fortnightly webinars on topics such as how to write a funding proposal and expert insights into your industry.
  • Final wrap-up session.
  • 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 paired with a energy researcher to help connect you with the 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

Small to medium-sized businesses invited to apply should be either:

  • interested in understanding their research and development (R&D) opportunities
  • are in the early decision-making stages about engaging in an R&D project with a research organisation but are not quite sure where to start.
  • Ideally working in one of the following sub sectors (however applications outside of these sub-sectors are also welcome to apply):
  1. Hydrogen
  2. Energy storage and batteries
  3. Energy data systems
  4. Low emissions tech
  5. Energy resources

Selection criteria (essential):

  • An Australian registered and operating business.
  • 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.

Other considerations:

  • Currently working, or interested in expanding into the energy sector.
  • Any other information provided to support your application.
  • Have a clear need to develop your skills in R&D.

Please note: We often receive many more applications than the 25-30 places available. 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.

What program participants are saying

“It's been a good program and I would recommend it to those that can create the time. The process and templates have been great in giving us some structure to approaching R&D and I feel this was most useful for us and would be so for others in our position."

Jared Cunningham, Director, Ravin

"The perfect solution in the current times. Innovation can provide a path out of the current COVID induced slump and reposition Australia as a smart nation into the future. Nobody knows their product/markets and how to improve them like SME's, they just don't have the resources to develop them. This course taps that knowledge rich base and links with the resources."

Hamish Shaw, GM Bellata Gold Milling

"I believe the program is a great way to distil and crystalize a specific project scope. Regardless of funding opportunities the ability to narrow down the scope of a potential project is extremely valuable."

Chris Pistilli, Lead Consultant, Synergy Managed

"I found the program rewarding, enjoyable and thought provoking.  It may not be a good fit for every organisation but for those looking to understand more about developing a process of innovation and learning how to engage with research institutes it was very useful."

— Julian Fay,  Chief Technology Corporation, Senetas

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

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