This week the Federal Government announced investment in a new program to support improved commercialisation outcomes from University-based research offering $242.7m over 4 years.

Key Highlights

  • Four competitively selected universities will each be awarded $50m over 4 years to drive commercialisation outcomes with industry partners
  • CSIRO will partner with selected universities to provide access to relevant test labs
  • At least one regional university will be guaranteed funding
  • Funding will require co-funding for projects by industry partners and universities
  • Projects must be aligned to National Manufacturing Priorities
  • Initial Expression of Interest submissions deadline – 17 January 2022

The government’s announcement to support commercialisation of university research is aligned to Minister Tudge’s previous encouragement for universities to increase focus on research translation and closer industry engagement. It is not clear whether funding will be “new money” or is to be re-allocated from other programmes.

All successful participants will be required to adopt the recently released standardised commercialisation and IP terms, although these are still to go through detailed consultation with stakeholders.

To be eligible, applications must:

  • include at least one private sector partner, whose activities deliver significant benefit to Australia’s NMPs
  • have agreement from university/ies involved in the application to
  • an IP strategy that maximises benefits for Australia, incentivises collaboration and spurs innovation, including agreement to adopt the Higher Education Research Commercialisation (HERC) IP Framework for any IP resulting from Trailblazer Universities Program grants
  • industrial arrangements that promote a high-performance culture and support the achievement of commercial outcomes, such as through a clearly articulated remuneration, reward and promotional arrangements for academic researchers engaging in commercialisation activities.
  • create an identifiable and separate business unit to support the application of this investment, including
  • appropriate governance, a governing board with representatives of end users and an independent chair with industry experience in the relevant national priority area, and
  • local leadership empowered to oversee management of innovative IP and industrial arrangements that promote a high-performance culture and support the achievement of focus on commercial outcomes
  • demonstrate evidence of matched funding from the university/ies involved in the application and industry partners

Shortlisted universities for the programme will be required to develop a further detailed business case by 15 March 2022.

Full details and the application form can be accessed from:https://www.dese.gov.au/trailblazer-universities-program/resources/trailblazer-universities-program-guidelines