9 December 2016

CSIRO to accelerate promising research through ON Accelerate3

CSIRO has announced the 10 teams selected for ON Accelerate3, the national sci-tech accelerator for publicly funded research teams in Australia. CSIRO launched the ON accelerator in July 2015 as part of its Strategy 2020, designed to boost Australia's innovation performance by creating connections between disciplines, sectors, science and business.

The teams, from Flinders University, Macquarie University, RMIT, The University of Newcastle, The University of Western Australia, the Defence Science and Technology Group and CSIRO, are working to address challenges in food and agriculture, sustainable farming, minerals and health and make up the most diverse cohort yet for ON Accelerate, said CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall.

"The impact these innovations could deliver is enormous and will be felt by all Australians in the form of new jobs, new ways to address some of our biggest social challenges and new opportunities to help industries transitioning disruption to compete and grow," Dr Marshall said.

"The diversity in teams is testament to our Strategy 2020 to open the accelerator to all publicly-funded research agencies under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, to help fast-track science innovation."

The winning teams were selected following a two-day Selection Bootcamp experience held in Sydney. Geoff Tuck from the 'D-tech-IT' team at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere said ON has completely changed the way he looks at research impact and the role it needs to play for customers.

"When we came into Bootcamp, we thought we knew our customer. We were wrong. When we spoke to them, they didn't want us," he said. "Later, having listened to their challenges, interrogated their needs and adapted our value proposition, we had that customer on board as our first trial partner.

"We are now on the path to deliver safe, sustainable fishing practices that will boost return for the Australian fishing industry and protect our endangered species."

The 10 big ideas that will be fast-tracked through this round of ON Accelerate include:
  • A low-cost, low-energy solution for data centre operators to help them manage increased data volumes while reducing energy consumption and environmental impact;
  • A safe and cost effective replacement for cyanide that will allow miners to recover more gold while protecting communities and the environment;
  • A simple, cost-effective solution for detecting gold in the field that will transform work processes and increase efficiency and returns for geologists;
  • Augmented reality for dentists to improve patient treatment and reduce time spent 'in the chair';
  • New medical technology that uses nano-sized particles of ruby and diamond to 'light-up' human systems to 'see the unseen' and improve patient diagnosis and treatment. 
  • An easy to drink, non-dairy and non-animal supplement for highly bioavailable calcium based on Australian seaweed that could provide the boost needed by over one in two Australians that suffer from calcium deficiency;
  • A new way to increase capacity for production of renewable oils from plants to meet growing global demand for food oils, industrial chemicals and renewable fuels; and
  • A standardised and effective treatment for skin cancer in animals;
  • New rapid video analysis technology that will allow species identification of fish at the 'point-of-catch' to enable safer fishing practices and endangered species protection;
  • New passive radar technology that will allow the Australian Defence Force to maintain their situational awareness without advertising their presence

ON Accelerate3 will commence on 16 January 2017 and will run for twelve weeks in hubs across the country, where teams will develop business planning, commercialisation and pitching skills. The programme culminates in ON Demo Night where teams will pitch their innovations to an audience of industry experts, investors and potential partners for further funding and support for commercialisation.