CSIRO set for fast start on $1.6bn research accelerator

The agency already has a big role – it could be bigger

The government’s research accelerator bill was not in the Reps yesterday which all but ensures it won’t happen before the election.

But this does not mean it is all over – Labor is said to support the research translation intent of the accelerator and so the next government, which-ever party(ies) forms it, will have time to consider governance. Including what CSIRO gets to do.

The present plan is for CSIRO to run stage three – where research is ready to be commercialised. There is $150m for the organisation’s Main Sequence Ventures, “to invest venture capital in spin-outs, start-ups and SMEs with strong links to Australian research and development to continue the channel for high-value opportunities to be taken to market.”

And CSIRO is not mucking about, observers say people are in place to organise the process – which appears commendably early, given the bill has not passed the House, let alone been seen by the Senate. And it will take months, many, many months for research props to get to stage three.

But perhaps CSIRO thinks it can help with the first two stages, via its ON programme, which can start at the early point of giving “individuals or teams the skills they need to explore their ecosystem and have meaningful discussions with stakeholders, including potential industry partners.”

The accelerator also provides for eight managers, expert in the national manufacturing priorities, who will be “highly qualified, experienced and motivated business and technology specialists.” They will report to a board whose members will, “possess experience and knowledge in research and its commercialisation, and represent government, industry business and research sectors.”

Easily announced but somebody will have to provide them all with support. CSIRO might be best-ready to help.