CSIRO opens the door for its R&D funding program, Kick-Start, to larger companies

- October 31, 2023 2 MIN READ
Dr Megan Sebben
Kick-Start program manager Dr Megan Sebben
National science agency CSIRO has expanded the qualifying criteria its Kick-Start program, which offers Australian small businesses can now access research and development (R&D) funding.

Businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million are now eligible, up from the previous $1.5 million threshold.

The Kick-Start program offers dollar-matched funding to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities for company-led R&D projects. Since kicking off in 2017, its helped 260 small business projects, contributing just under $24 million in R&D activities.

CSIRO’s new CEO Dr Doug Hilton said the program expansion demonstrated the organisation’s focus on supporting Australian entrepreneurship and innovation.

CSIRO can absolutely play a role in supporting SMEs to embrace research and in stimulating entrepreneurship among our scientists and others in the community,” he said.

“Expanding the eligibility of the CSIRO Kick-Start program means we can offer more Australian businesses, more Australian innovators, more Australian entrepreneurs’ access to the resources, knowledge, and support they need to flourish.”

The Kick-Start program offers facilitation to help refine the research question; CSIRO researcher expertise and capability to act like in-house R&D division; and dollar-matched funding.

The startups it’s help include medtech Eyes of AI (EAI), which is using artificial intelligence to solve a major pain point for dentists and enlisted CSIRO researchers to refine its dental x-ray analysis and pathology detection.

Cofounder Dr Sen Le said Kick-Start helped them set a new standard in radiograph analysis.

“Being able to harness the AI and imaging expertise of CSIRO’s Data61 team, a global leader in the field, is both an honour and an exciting development for our company,” he said.

Kick-Start program manager Dr Megan Sebben said the companies involved so far have spanned AI-powered tech to native skincare, hydrogen prototypes to Indigenous farmin

“In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation is the lifeblood of success,” she said.

“Yet, many startups and SMEs face barriers, such as limited expertise and insufficient funding, that hinder R&D access. Our program serves as a driver for change, providing comprehensive facilitation to overcome these challenges.”

Get more details or submit an expression of interest for Kick-Start here..