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The SIEF Ross Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowship program enables SMEs to build on existing successful collaborative projects by providing funding support for the placement of early career researchers (ECR) from Australia’s research organisations into their business to develop and implement new ideas with commercial potential.

The program places early career science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) researchers into SME businesses for two to three year research projects. It aims to build deeper connections between researchers and SMEs, accelerate the adoption of new ideas and technology, and help SMEs grow into larger and more profitable organisations.

As the exclusive industry partner delivering the Science and Industry Endowment Fund’s (SIEF) Ross Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowships, our team works alongside the SME and research organisation to establish the project and facilitate financial assistance in the form of a Fellowship grant of up to $115,000 per annum, which must be matched in cash by the business.

The research project can be carried out in conjunction with any publicly-funded Australian research organisation and has no industry sector-restrictions – the project must simply be research involving science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

STEM+ Business case studies

Over 40 businesses have enrolled in the STEM+ Business program since July 2016, in projects as diverse as automating aquaculture farming, developing a cat allergy vaccine, and turning coconut waste into carbon fibre.

Since the commencement of the program 40 early career researchers have benefited from hands-on business operations exposure, a growing number of research papers have been developed and published, and companies are fast-tracking their products and processes to commercialisation stage.

This program is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF).

About Ross Metcalf

The late Ross Metcalf lived and worked in Western Australia where, following studies at UWA, his skills as an industrial chemist were applied with great benefit to the mining industry. Ross was a life-long lover of science and an inventor who sought practical solutions to chemical, mechanical and electrical challenges. SIEF Ross Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowships are supported by his generous Gift to the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

In line with Ross’ wishes the Fellowships will strive to "foster a sustainable future for the country and interesting careers for future generations" while advancing areas of research with a "realistic chance of commercial payback".

FAQ: Eligibility

Australian SMEs that:

  • Have completed an AusIndustry Researcher-in-Business or Research Connections / Innovation Connections project.
  • Have an annual turnover or operating expenditure between $1.0million and $100million in the last financial year.

The program is specifically designed for early-career researchers (ECRs), and will provide personal development opportunities in industry-relevant research, commercial awareness and potential future employment opportunities. To be eligible, each ECR must:

  • Have completed a PhD in a STEM subject, OR have a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or Master's degree by research in a STEM discipline with relevant research experience.
  • Have no more than 6 years relevant experience since conferral of their last degree.

If there is no ECR currently available at the chosen research organisation, funding can still be approved on the condition that an eligible ECR be hired at the start of the project.

Find out more and apply

You can find our program eligibility and guidelines as well as application form below. For further information and to apply, please get in touch with our dedicated SIEF Ross Metcalf STEM+ Business Fellowships Manager.

Mr Jason Barkla

SME Business Manager (STEM+ Business) (SERVICES)

Guidelines and application form

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