Innovate to Grow - Supercharge Growth with the CSIRO
The latest round of the CSIRO ‘Innovate to Grow’ program is about to commence, with applications now open. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund, Innovate to Grow is an exclusive opportunity for Australian SMEs to supercharge their growth through innovation and technological advancement.
What is the Innovate to Grow Program?
Innovate to Grow is designed to empower participants to harness their innovative potential and bring their R&D ideas to life. The free program will run for 10 weeks and boasts the opportunity to provide participants with major benefits including: a program mentor, confidential support and feedback, networking opportunities and a better understanding of project viability. Furthermore, the program will assist in guiding participants in turning their initial ideas into research projects while connecting them with relevant sector contacts.
The CSIRO operates these programs periodically throughout the year, with each program specifically targeting a distinct sector. For instance, there was a program dedicated to the mining sector that started in March, another for the agrifood sector that began in April, and a program for the energy sector that kicked off in May.
Innovate to Grow - Success Stories
Every week, Lowes TC supplies agricultural businesses with over 100,000 Tissue Culture (TC) plants. Among the various applications of tissue culture, it allows growers to replicate numerous identical plants using material from an existing plant. The primary aim was to enhance processes, resulting in quicker and more cost-effective plant production. With guidance from CSIRO SME Connect, Lowes TC successfully secured three innovation grants, subsequently collaborating with the University of Technology Sydney. This collaboration led to the development of a highly efficient prototype for a new TC system. Participating in the 2020 Innovate to Grow program furthered their business case and facilitated valuable partnerships and funding opportunities.
Following these advancements, Lowes TC received a substantial Australian grant amounting to $888,000 and established a partnership with Sugar Research Australia. The newly introduced system significantly improves access to plants within the bioreactor, allowing for more efficient movement and some automation. Through this innovation, Lowes TC now achieves a minimum of 10 times the hourly production rate of the traditional TC system. Notably, a single staff member can now, depending on the type, produce an average of 14,000 to 30,000 plants during a workday, a substantial increase from the previous count of 1,400 per day.
Driven by the needs of her aging dog, Amanda Falconer embarked on a journey that led to the creation of ‘Bestie Kitchen.’ This endeavour aimed to provide nutritious food and supplements for pets in need. While producing health-focused pet food, Amanda also attempted to develop various nutraceutical formulations. These formulations, derived from food sources, offer additional health benefits beyond the basics of nutrition.
Incorporating these nutraceuticals into a soft chewable gummy posed a challenge. Seeking a solution, Amanda turned to CSIRO Kick-Start for assistance. Through this program, she was connected with a dedicated team of doctors from CSIRO’s Agriculture and Food research unit. Together, they successfully developed therapeutic gummy chews that seamlessly integrated the desired nutraceuticals.
Amanda also participated in the Innovate to Grow program. This experience not only deepened her understanding of research and development opportunities for her business but also provided invaluable insights from industry experts. Throughout her collaboration with CSIRO, Amanda was presented with funding opportunities from The Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre and the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.
Program Eligibility Criteria
To qualify for the current iteration of the program, businesses must:
Have a digital technology and/or cybersecurity related R&D idea that can be worked on for the duration of the program.
Have less than 200 employees.
Be a registered Australian business with a valid ABN or ACN/ICN.
Applications close on September 17th, with the program set to commence on October 12th, 2023. For further information and to apply for the program, click here.
It is important to remember that positions in the Innovate to Grow programs are in high demand, with limited spaces available. To avoid missing out, you can sign up to receive notifications of new programs and application information here.