New $30 million fund for research breakthrough

Monday, 16 June 2008

A new $30 million fund being announced today is a major breakthrough for South Australian and other researchers in developing commercial opportunities from their work.

The Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund is a joint initiative of South Australia's three universities - the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University - together with Monash University in Victoria and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

WA-based Industry superannuation fund Westscheme is investing $30 million over five years in the Fund. The State Governments of South Australia and Victoria will each contribute $1.25 million and the New Zealand Government will contribute $NZ 1 million.

South Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee Chair Professor James McWha said the SA Vice-Chancellors believed the university collaboration and the support of Westscheme and the South Australian, Victorian and New Zealand governments was a major development for university researchers.

South Australia's Minister for Science and Information Economy Paul Caica said the State Government was determined to see the practical application of valuable scientific research to industry.

"We are confident that this Fund will capture ideas from researchers and develop them into new businesses and products and we expect to see increased commercialisation of research, spin-out companies and economic growth on both sides of the Tasman, including commercial returns for South Australia," Minister Caica said.

"This collaboration between universities, the private sector and governments is about turning world-class research into world-class breakthroughs."

Professor McWha, who is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide, said a great deal of promising university research lacked the funding needed to take a potentially valuable idea through the critical first stages of commercial and technical evaluation, ready for commercial investment.

"The Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund will address this gap in supporting early stage research through to commercial outcomes, delivering solutions to real world problems," he said.

UniSA Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the collaboration would help researchers and industry to make the strides needed to turn ideas into commercial outcomes.

"Behind the headlines of innovation and discoveries there are thousands of hours of research and very often vital capital investment. We believe this commercialisation fund will help significant breakthroughs in SA," Professor Høj said.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber said the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund was "a welcome and timely injection of funds that will boost the research and commercialisation efforts of Flinders and its partner universities".

The Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund provides a new and dedicated source of 'pre-seed' capital for member universities to support early stage technology commercialisation projects. It also paves the way for venture capital firms and other fund providers to co-invest in promising technologies.

The collaborative venture involves the five universities and their commercial development arms - Adelaide Research & Innovation Pty Ltd (University of Adelaide), ITEK Pty Ltd (University of South Australia), Flinders Partners Pty Ltd (Flinders University), Monash University Industry Engagement & Commercialisation and Auckland UniServices Limited (University of Auckland).


Contact Details

Mr Robert Chalmers
Managing Director
Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4337
Mobile: 0404 064 257

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084