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Bridging the innovation gap

Bridging the innovation gap

Applications have now been received for a new $4.8m research and development fund that aims to bridge the gap between generating new knowledge and creating an 'investor-ready' commercial prototype.

Managed by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, the Pre-seed Accelerator Fund will provide successful applicants with up to 33% of the cost of approved projects.

Eighteen public sector research providers have submitted funding applications for a total of 112 projects that aim to turn research results into products that the private sector might be prepared to invest in.

The Foundation's Economic Investment Manager, Brian Ward, says: "Pre-seed development aims to get innovations through the 'valley of death' between discovery and commercial readiness. Projects typically include experimental development, intellectual property protection, market validation and business case development."

The Pre-seed Accelerator Fund will complement the Foundation's existing Technology for Business Growth scheme, which helps businesses, research associations and industry groups develop innovations - but is not available for Crown Research Institutes and Tertiary Education Institutes. The Pre-seed fund will provide similar support for these public-sector organisations.

"We hope this fund will improve the skill and focus that public research institutions apply to commercialisation," says Brian. "We are looking for a substantial change in value capture."

The Foundation's Pre-seed Accelerator Fund reference group (an independent panel of experts) will now begin the process of assessing the proposals.

Final decisions will be notified later this month and contracts will be in place by February 2004.

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