CSIRO program to increase the skills of research teams


The return of CSIRO’s ON program marks an opportunity for Australian researchers to develop their entrepreneurial and commercialization skills.

ON is designed to help lab teams commercialize innovative research by working with CSIRO on developing the skills needed for commercialization.

The free upskilling program includes ON Prime, which focuses 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 lab and business.

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

“Australia is rarely at the forefront of innovation. However, compared to international programs, ON can be proud of an extremely strong track record when it comes to fundraising per company, diversity of founders and system coverage.

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

“Thirty years of uninterrupted economic growth has not motivated us to innovate and find the new waves of prosperity where we can truly lead. We fell behind, while others raced ahead,” Marshall said.

“We have incredible research in this country, capable of extraordinary inventions – but we lag way behind when it comes to innovation, turning those brilliant ideas into something real that can actually change the world.”

ON has trained more than 3,000 people from 52 Australian research organizations since its inception in 2015, including MGA Thermal, a company that now offers thermal energy storage solutions aimed at revolutionizing global renewable energy systems.

“ON Prime gave us confidence that we had a product the market wanted, and that helped us refine our problem-solution fit. During this time, ON Accelerate provided us with a decision gate on feasibility and helped us to be sure we had the right business model in place,” said MGA Thermal CEO Erich Kisi.

ON was originally developed as part of the CSIRO Innovation Catalyst, which was designed to accelerate the commercialization of Australian research.

It is one of several recently expanded CSIRO programs supporting the commercialization activities of the Australian university sector, including the industry PhD program and CSIRO Mainsequence Innovation Funds.

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


CSIRO boss: Australia needs to get smarter to ride the waves of innovation


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