Is your SME chasing a university partnership? The CSIRO now has a free tool to cut out the application guesswork

research and development csiro

Source: CSIRO, Author provided.

The CSIRO has launched a free online tool preparing small and medium-sized businesses for partnerships with universities and other research institutes, helping founders navigate what can be a highly complex and time-consuming process.

Industry-university partnerships and collaborations with the CSIRO itself have led to countless Australian startup innovations, from internet-of-things developers and open-sourced educators to companies commercialising greenhouse emission-reducing cattle feed.

However, making the most of the opportunities available to small and medium-sized enterprises can be difficult for first-time founders, particularly those without existing ties to publicly-funded research organisations.

The CSIRO’s new ‘collaboration readiness tool’, launched on Monday in partnership with the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and RMIT University, aims to lower those barriers.

A simple questionnaire provides businesses with a ‘collaboration readiness level’, based on their leadership capabilities, resources, knowledge-sharing abilities, internal systems, and proven outcomes.

This understanding can help “allows business leaders to embark on a conversation with a facilitator, technology officer, researcher or grants officer to accelerate outcomes and project delivery,” the CSIRO says.

From there, the tool provides users with feedback on what programs or partnerships may align best with their business, and information on how users could develop their startup to meet an even greater pool of potential partnership opportunities.

The ‘collaboration readiness tool’ also offers relevant contact details and program information, saving founders the hassle of diving through the sea of grants and partnership opportunities themselves.

The tool was developed in response to a 2021 survey of 800 SMEs. A report based on those findings said an automated tool could “focus support on potential high-value collaborations”.

Interested parties can access the tool here.

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