What is the CSIRO Kick-Start?

The CSIRO Kick-Start is an initiative for innovative Australian start-ups that provides funding and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business.



The CSIRO Kick-Start program helps Australian start-ups and small SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) access dollar-matched funding to undertake research, development, or testing activities with CSIRO. It is a targeted program, which forms part of CSIRO’s strategic commitment to deepen our direct support for Australian technology start-ups and SMEs in areas of national growth priorities.

The research activities can include, for example, the development of prototypes, improving methods and processes, or the testing of novel materials. Eligible companies within three years of registration, or with a turnover or operating expenditure of less than $1.5 million, can access a KickStart voucher of between $10k-50k (matched dollar-for-dollar to the company cash contribution) to assist in accessing CSIRO research capability.



SME Connect’s dedicated Kick-Start Program Manager, along with other members of the SME Connect team, take a customer first approach and will assist in:

  • Connecting the business to the best CSIRO research expertise, utilising our national CSIRO network of facilitators and contacts.
  • Expediting the application process and helping with project design, if required, to ensure the project meets customer needs and expectations.
  • Maintaining end-to-end engagement – remaining in communication with both researchers and businesses during the course of, and after completion of, the project, to ensure expectations are met, and knowledge transfer is smooth and effective.



Kick-Start vouchers are designed to help start-ups and small businesses access matched funding of between $10,000-50,000 to undertake a research project with CSIRO.


Eligible Projects

Projects will be developed between the company and the relevant CSIRO researcher(s). If required this can be facilitated by the SME Connect team. Eligible projects must:

  • Include one of the following activities:
    • Research into a new idea with commercial potential
    • Development of a novel or improved product or process
    • Testing of a novel product, developed by the company, to inform research and development activities.
  • Be delivered by CSIRO business units and/or facilities. This currently includes:
    • Agriculture and Food
    • Data61
    • Energy
    • Health and Biosecurity
    • Land and Water
    • Manufacturing
    • Mineral Resources
    • Oceans and Atmosphere
    • Services
    • Astronomy and Space Science
    • Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    • National Facilities and Collections
  • Be less than 1 year in length
  • Have a mutually agreed budget and scope of work


Eligible Applicants

Businesses will need to provide evidence they meet the following criteria as part of the application process:

  • Be registered, and have their primary place of business, within Australia. (Australian subsidiary companies of foreign entities are not eligible)
  • Have an Australian Company number (ACN).
  • Be a for-profit, non-tax exempt company which is registered for GST
  • Have an annual turnover and operating expenditure of less than $1.5million, in the current and each of the two previous financial years; or
  • Have been a registered company for less than 3 years.



Australian Plant Proteins (APP): Optimised faba bean protein extraction

Australian Plant Proteins (APP) undertook a CSIRO Kick-Start project to optimise faba bean powder production, including testing the feasibility of ultrafiltration to increase the protein concentration.

After the success of the CSIRO Kick-Start project, APP have recently announced the two-phase development of a $35-million plant-protein processing facility in Horsham, Victoria, with protein powder production scheduled to commence in the second half of 2019. The processing plant is expected to create dozens of jobs and broad acre farming opportunities, representing a major economic boost for the agricultural industry in the Wimmera region.

T-Provenance: Blockchain technology for food exports

T-Provenance engaged CSIRO researchers within Data61 to develop a working prototype ready for beta use with trial partners, and to design an intuitive user interface. The platform specifically targeted the Australian fresh produce sector. Data61’s blockchain specialists, led by Dr Ingo Weber, were able to develop a prototype platform that was integrated into the Trust Provenance system.

By creating a more transparent supply chain, T-Provenance has the potential to help safeguard Australia’s reputation for safe high-quality produce and the export revenue this generates.

Q-Sera: Spray drying blood collection tubes

Q-Sera engaged CSIRO researchers within the Biomedical Materials Translational Facility (BMTF), led by Principal Research Scientist Dr Mark Bown. The team conducted trials under realistic production conditions for spray coating and then air dried the inner surfaces of blood collection tubes with RAPClot™ formulations.

Positive research results were achieved with spraying, drying and irradiation trials, producing tubes that met the expected standards. Tube drying facilities were developed, with protocols matching industry expectations. The serum produced through Q-Sera’s blood collection tubes has the potential to improve biochemical analysis and the efficiency of laboratories. This could also lead to improved patient diagnostics and subsequent treatment outcomes.

The project was supported by a CSIRO Kick-Start voucher, facilitated by SME Connect.

Accurait®: Lease management with AI efficiencies

Through a CSIRO Kick-Start project, LeaseInfo  gained access to Data61’s extensive experience and capability in natural language processing and machine learning.

The partnership resulted in the development of Accurait® , a new software that seamlessly reads lease contracts and scanned data. The business is continuing to evolve the product through an SME Connect facilitated STEM+ Business fellowship with Data61.

Conflux Technology: Additive manufacturing for thermal and fluid engineering solutions

CSIRO’s SME Connect team facilitated a project in 2016 that partnered Conflux Technology with CSIRO’s Mineral Resources business unit. The project would demonstrate the feasibility of using CFD modelling to make design improvements to Conflux’s heat exchangers, rather than iterating designs by manufacture of physical prototypes.

The results produced by the CSIRO team have helped Conflux develop a more detailed understanding of the performance of its additive manufactured heat exchangers, make design improvements and fast-track their future design process.

Today, Conflux employs 8 people at its Geelong base where it is co-located with key research partner, Deakin University. It is presently engaging with a number of customers in the automotive, motorsport and aviatio