Trailblazer Universities Program

The Australian Government is investing $242.7 million from 2021-22 until 2025-26 to support select universities to boost prioritised research and development and drive commercialisation outcomes with industry partners. This includes a total of $30 million for participating universities to partner with CSIRO and access specialist equipment to supercharge their research translation and commercialisation capabilities.

Through this initiative the Australian Government will provide additional capacity to focus on the problems that matter to the nation by driving research excellence and real-world impact behind Australia’s National Manufacturing Priorities.

About the Program

The Trailblazer Universities Program will be comprised of a select group of universities with dedicated investment to accelerate Australia’s innovation agenda at-speed and at-scale. Participating universities will demonstrate:

  • Commitment to supercharging world-leading capability behind a nominated National Manufacturing Priority (defence, space, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, and resources technology and critical minerals technology)
  • Use of open, collaborative IP agreements that are attractive for industry
  • Use of incentives and rewards for research staff who engage with industry and commercialise research
  • Co-funding commitments from industry partners, and proactive engagement with businesses
  • Opportunities and pathways that promote strong industry engagement and job-ready skills, including development of educational qualifications and pathways with the Vocational and Education Training (VET) sector.

Funding to support participating universities to drive research commercialisation behind the National Manufacturing Priorities will be provided from 1 July 2022.

The Trailblazer Universities Program responds to feedback to the public consultation on university research commercialisation, which highlighted the importance of strengthening capability at the institutional level. Submissions to the consultation also emphasised key barriers to collaboration and commercialisation, and proposed solutions such as more effective IP arrangements and greater incentives for academics and institutions to translate and commercialise research.

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How do universities apply?

The Program Guidelines outline eligibility, selection criteria, funding requirements and application process for the Trailblazer Universities Program.

Applications will involve a two-stage application process. All universities are invited to complete an initial Expression of Interest form which will be used to shortlist applicants who will then be invited to submit a more comprehensive business case stage for final assessment.

Universities are invited to provide an expression of interest to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment by 9.00am AEDT Monday 17 January 2022.

If you have any questions, please email the Department at urcs@dese.gov.au.

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