CSIRO ON program offers Aussie researchers free entrepreneurial upskilling

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CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The return of CSIRO’s ON program marks Australian researchers’ opportunity to build their entrepreneurial and commercialisation skills.

ON is designed to help lab-based teams commercialise innovative research by working with the CSIRO on developing the necessary skills for commercialisation.

The free upskilling program is comprised of ON Prime, focused on marketing skills, and ON Accelerate, which focuses on business skills.

CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall said the program can help all Australian researchers bridge the gap between the lab bench and business.

“The unique combination of ON and special access to the national science agency’s networks and resources, helps scientists bridge the valley of death that separates research from business,” he said.

“It is rare that Australia leads in innovation. However, when compared to international programs, ON can be proud of an extremely strong track record when it comes to money raised per company, diversity of founders, and coverage of the system.”

Last month, Marshall used a speech at the National Press Club to call for Australia to “obliterate” its innovation problem.

“30 years of uninterrupted economic growth hasn’t motivated us to innovate and find the new waves of prosperity where we can actually lead. We’ve fallen behind, while others have raced ahead,” Marshall said.

‘We have amazing research in this country, capable of extraordinary invention — but we remain well behind on innovation, turning those brilliant ideas into something real that can actually change the world.”

ON has provided training to more than 3000 people from 52 Australian research organisations since its inception in 2015, including MGA Thermal, a company now delivering thermal energy storage solutions aimed at revolutionising the world’s renewable energy systems.

“ON Prime gave us the confidence that we had a product the market wanted, and it helped us refine our problem-solution fit.

“Meanwhile, ON Accelerate provided a feasibility decision gate for us and helped us be confident that we had the right business model in place,’ MGA Thermal CEO Erich Kisi said.

ON was originally developed as part of CSIRO’s innovation catalyst, which was designed to fast-track the commercialisation of Australian research.

It is one of several recently expanded CSIRO programs supporting the commercialisation activities of Australia’s university sector, including the Industry PhD program and CSIRO’s Innovation Funds, Main Sequence.

Applications for ON Prime close on Friday, 26 August 2022. Applications for ON Accelerate close on Friday, 16 September 2022.

This article was first published by The Mandarin.

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