CSIRO ON, off since 2020, now back on

The CSIRO’s two-tiered ON program, which ran from 2015 to 2020 and aimed to help commercialise publicly-funded research, has returned, the organisation announced on Monday.

The accelerator program counts drone mapping company Emesent, robotic sensor company Contactile and thermal energy storage business MGA Thermal among its alumni. According to CSIRO it had over 3,000 participants and helped create 52 new companies before its funding ended. 

“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,” said CSIRO’s head Dr Larry Marshall in a statement. 

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.”

CSIRO expects the re-introduced program to assist 100 teams per year through ON Prime (a course focussed on customer delivery) with the best of these proceeding to ON Accelerate (a “full-time structured innovation accelerator”.)

Erich Kisi, MGA Thermal’s CEO went through both while at the University of Newcastle and said that Prime “gave us the confidence that we had a product the market wanted, and it helped us refine our problem-solution fit” while the accelerator “provided a feasibility decision gate for us and helped us be confident that we had the right business model in place.”

CSIRO ON was announced during the former Malcolm Turnbull-led Coalition government’s Ideas Boom policy initiative in mid-2015, and its funding ran out in mid-2020.

Applications for the next intake of ON Prime close August 26 and ON Accelerate September 16.

Picture: CSIRO

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