The Australian Government is investing $1.6 billion to accelerate reform in the higher education sector for translation and commercialisation research capacity by establishing a new stage-gated funding program, Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA), to support translation and commercialisation activities aligned with national priority areas. Supported by expert governance arrangements, the AEA program will develop a pipeline from discovery through to commercialisation, ensuring Australia reaps the benefits of investment in research within the university sector.
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About the program
Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA) is a new research funding program designed to shift the dial on Australian research by supporting the translation and commercialisation of our world leading research in the university sector. The AEA will help create a research ecosystem where our world-class research is translated into real world innovations and productivity gains.
From July 2022, the AEA will operate as a priority-driven grant program to support projects aligned with the six National Manufacturing Priorities with high commercial opportunity. The current priority areas are:
- Medical products
- Resources technology and critical minerals processing
- Food and beverage
- Defence, and
- Recycling and clean energy.
Funding will be available to Table A and B universities and applicants will be encouraged to partner with industry. Grants will be offered on a rolling basis.
The AEA is a fast-fail model designed to attract projects at a proof of concept or proof of scale level of commercial readiness that have high commercialisation potential.
Projects will progress through the program, based on continued success and achievement of milestones. To incentivise ongoing excellence, the quantum of AEA funding increases as projects mature towards at-scale commercialisation. The expanded Main Sequence Ventures fund provides a high-value opportunity for projects that successfully progressed through the AEA. Alternatively, outcomes from the AEA can be picked up by businesses who can take them forward or by other sources of venture capital investment (including through other schemes such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation).
Industry participation will be critical to the success of the program. Examples of industry involvement include embedded industry experts, memoranda of understanding, in-kind support, formal partnerships and co investment.
The AEA will be governed by an expert commercialisation board, supported by expert Priority Managers. The AEA Board will consist of up to eight members, who will possess experience and knowledge in research and its commercialisation, and represent government, industry, and research sectors. It is anticipated the AEA Board will be appointed by the Minister in the first half of 2022.
Priority Managers will represent each of the National Manufacturing Priority areas and be highly qualified, experienced, and motivated business and technology specialists. Priority Managers will work with successful applicants to help foster connections and secure formal collaboration arrangements with industry partners.
The AEA Board will oversee the Priority Managers and advise the Minister for Education on the commercialisation of research through a Research Commercialisation Strategy, which is to be developed every five years from 2022-23.
Subject to the passage of legislation, AEA grants will be available from 1 July 2022. Further details, including information on the grant application process will be made available at a later date. See the frequently asked questions for further information.
If you have any questions, please email the Department at email@example.com.