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CSIRO propels 10 deep tech teams addressing global challenges

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Australia’s next wave of deep tech innovation is here. CSIRO’s ON Accelerate program culminated in a showcase yesterday, celebrating the achievements of 10 teams tackling global challenges in health, sustainability, and advanced manufacturing.

ON Accelerate breaks down the challenges that often prevent deep tech ideas and research from evolving into real-world applications and market-ready ventures.The showcase highlighted the impressive strides made by the 10 deep tech teams from the latest ON Accelerate cohort since commencing the three-month program.

They were selected for their work in addressing critical areas of innovation; including global health challenges, championing sustainability through circularity and pushing the boundaries of advanced manufacturing and AI.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Doug Hilton said the ideas, innovations and advancements delivered by this year’s ON Accelerate program were truly inspiring.“These researchers are working at the cutting edge of technology to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges,” Dr Hilton said.

“CSIRO’s proud to play a pivotal role in unlocking success pathways that ensure the translation of ideas into real solutions, products and companies.We are committed to continually breaking down barriers for researchers to foster the next era of Australian inventiveness.”

Dr Grant Lynch of EMU Systems from the University of Sydney, and one of the Accelerate 8 teams, was announced as the recipient of the prestigious 2024 Stanford Australia Foundation (SAF) award scholarship.

The scholarship provides ON Accelerate alumni with the opportunity to benefit from the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program.

Stanford Australia Foundation Chairman, Aaron Bilston said, “The SAF award scholarship will empower its ON Accelerate 8 researcher recipient, Dr Grant Lynch from EMU Systems, to advance their innovation and commercialisation skills, driving impactful solutions from research to real-world applications, ultimately boosting Australia’s global competitiveness and fostering economic growth.”

Notably, Cytophenix Co-Founder Dr Christine Carson from the University of Western Australia was awarded the CSIRO Impactful Leadership Award for her exceptional program performance, receiving $10,000 to support her ongoing professional development and innovation.

Each team received personalised coaching, enhanced customer and investor engagement skills, networking and event support, and entrepreneurial and commercialisation training throughout the program. Each component and resource was delivered to help drive greater market adoption of the cohort’s innovative ideas.

Highlights from the Accelerate 8 cohort’s achievements include:

Aquatone Solutions: Connected with a customer for product trials and engaged with the Australian Prawn Farmer’s Association (APFA) to advance their initiatives. They are also collaborating with CSIRO Kick-Start to further their research and have received a $100K investment from an industry partner. Additionally, they have garnered interest and initiated discussions with overseas operators and farms about their innovative solutions.

Continuous3D: Successfully redeployed their interface in several CSIRO laboratories, receiving positive feedback for their software, which enables robots to perform complex tasks in unstructured environments. This software allows robots to scan and understand their surroundings, enabling them to perform jobs such as repairing machinery.

Cytophenix: Formed in 2023 following successful funding by the Brandon BioCatalyst CUREator program, the award-winning team is developing FloCAST – a rapid antimicrobial susceptibility test that provides answers days faster than existing tests. Building on more than $9M of non-dilutive development funding to date, the team are fresh from a recent successful trip to Europe and the UK; presenting their latest developments at prestigious international conferences and engaging with partners for its cutting-edge technology to fight against life-threatening infections.

EMU Systems: Selected as a recipient of The University of Sydney’s Sydney Knowledge Hub PERIscope Commercialisation Award, the team already delivers their cutting-edge heat stress management systems to multiple global sporting organisations. EMU Systems is now seeking to expand into the broader occupational market – including mining, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture – to help companies keep their workforce safe and productive under extreme heat conditions.

Dragonfly Thinking: Selected for Australia’s AI Sprint program and the Defence Trailblazer’s Entrepreneurial Foundations for Defence program. Awarded a $30,000 Innovation Connect (ICON) Grant by the Canberra Innovation Network in partnership with the ACT Government to help develop its AI tools. Dragonfly Thinking also hosted a Senior Leadership Workshop on its tools and techniques at Harvard University and are due to begin piloting its AI tools in government and businesses in Q3 of 2024.

ErythroSight: Secured a patent position for their technology and made significant progress in developing a clinic-ready product to treat vision loss diseases like age-related macular degeneration using patients’ blood. The team was awarded a $50,000 ANU impact grant for regulatory support, independent validation, and lab supplies for continued R&D. Additionally, ON contributed $20,000 through its runway services. These combined funds have enabled the team to develop an FDA regulatory strategy and conduct a gap analysis.

Infinite Bioworks: To date, the team have secured over $150K in commercialisation funding, developed international partnerships and opportunities in other high-value markets.

Jessie Technology: The team has received seed philanthropic funding, built a Proof of Concept in collaboration with Microsoft that demonstrates the technology’s capability, and are partnering with a trusted provider in a foundation customer agreement for a MVP trial in an aged care home.

Plasmid Therapy: Received regulatory approvals and initiated human trials for their innovative technology, which addresses the global threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections by safely removing and preventing the spread of AMR genes in bacteria.

Wild Yeast Zoo: The team have begun to generate customer revenue and are in discussions with companies interested in purchasing three of their products. Their medium-term plan includes expanding into biofuels and biobased chemicals, all while maintaining engagement with the fermented beverage industry.

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