Big sci-tech ideas: from lab to marketplace

Published at Sep 27, 2016, in Features

A non-invasive diagnostic test to improve IVF success rates and an electronic nose that can detect illegal trafficking of wildlife contraband are just two of the big ideas announced today to be fast-tracked through the nation’s sci-tech pre-accelerator, ON Prime.

ON Prime is part of the ON program, powered by CSIRO and designed to create connections between research, science and business.

More than 160 researchers from across Australia registered for ON Prime.

The 39 successful teams will be armed with the skills to not only validate their science and technology ideas in the lab, but also in the marketplace.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said he knew the big ideas were out there, but was overwhelmed by the quality of applications and appetite for entry across the research sector.

“We’re thrilled to have created this program for Australia’s research sector and can’t wait to see the breakthroughs that come from this round of ON Prime,” Dr Marshall said.

“The potential impact these ideas will have on the everyday lives of Australians and our economic, social, and environmental prosperity is huge.

“I’m most excited about the role we can play in connecting these teams with the mentors, customers and commercialisation experts who can help convert their ideas to real-world impact at pace.

“We know the pathway from great research to commercial outcomes is tough work and that’s why the ON experience is so critical and timely.

“It pools all that expertise and connections into a concentrated program that is focused on bridging the gap from benchtop to beta.

“This will help us tackle some of our nation’s greatest challenges.”

The teams commenced the eight-week program in one of five ON Prime ‘hubs’ across the country on 20 September, supported by funds provided through the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Research teams collaborates with industry to fast-track big ideas through the ON accelerator.

Some of the big ideas that will be fast-tracked through ON Prime include:

  • An acoustic-belt that listens to, records and analyses gut noises to aid more accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal conditions
  • A new tool for winemakers that captures and interprets historical, real-time and forecast data to help improve decision making and increase wine quality and crop outputs across the $300bn wine industry
  • New contrast imaging technology that improves X-ray image sensitivity and quality and allows doctors to ‘see the invisible’ in tumours and soft-tissue while reducing the radiation dose for patients
  • An empathy simulator that allows high-quality, cost-effective virtual training of health and aged care workers to improve communication skills and empathy
  • New processes for apple juice producers to reduce or reuse the by-products of juice manufacture to create new food-products and markets while reducing landfill and greenhouse gas-emissions.

Shari Forbes from the ‘NOS.E: electronic nose’ team at the University of Technology Sydney said they were thrilled to be accepted into ON Prime and were looking forward to meeting with their mentors and commercialisation experts.

“We’re confident our science is valid and the impact it can have is huge, but what we’ve been missing is the deep network of industry partners and potential customers to test and validate the idea in the market,” Professor Forbes said.

“That’s what ON Prime brings to the table in a focused course format and that’s what we’re most excited about tapping into.”

Applications for ON Accelerate – the ON experience designed to build market validated ideas and develop and test business models – will open on 4 October 2016 with 10 positions available for research teams across the country.

About ON, powered by CSIRO

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. www.csiro.au/on


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