Commercialisation revenue has more than doubled over the past two years, as research powers Australia’s post-pandemic recovery.
Hundreds of start-ups and spin-outs contributed to the $242.3 million dollar return on investment in 2020 – up from $119m in 2018 – despite the challenges of COVID-19.
The Survey of Commercialisation on Outcomes from Public Research (SCOPR), conducted every year by Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia, collects data from Australian and New Zealand universities and research agencies.
“Despite the tough year, there was strong growth in commercial activity ranging from number of inventions to commercialisation income and new start-up companies,” Chair of SCOPR, John Grace AO, says.
The survey also found that The University of Auckland, CSIRO, Monash University, The University of Sydney, the ANU and UNSW are engaging the best with industry.
“Tech transfer professionals are the unsung heroes of the innovation sector, turning brilliant ideas into successful global businesses,” Natalie Chapman, MD of knowledge commercialisation firm, gemaker, says.
Here are just some of the innovations created and commercialised in recent years:
- OxyGenie is an automated system that helps premature babies to breathe. Previously, bedside staff manually adjusted oxygen concentration to keep these babies alive. OxyGenie has the potential to decrease the risk of long-term cognitive effects, permanent organ damage, and death. In 2018, the University of Tasmania granted UK firm SLE Ltd a licence to commercialise the technology, now used in more than 40 countries.
- PERC – More than 90% of solar cells produced worldwide use world record breaking technology developed in Australia. The highly efficient and low-cost Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) technology was invented by Professor Martin Green at the University of New South Wales. Sales exceeded US$100 billion in 2020 and are predicted to exceed US$1 trillion by 2030.
- Coviu – With lockdowns and social distancing accelerating global adoption of telehealth, Coviu’s purpose-built, secure, feature-rich platform, developed by and spun out of CSIRO, has enabled more than 65,000 Australian health carers to deliver more than 4.3 million consultations. Users can even draw diagrams on an interactive ‘whiteboard’ to explain diagnoses and treatments. In 2020, Coviu ranked 2nd on Deloitte’s list of fastest growing companies, with 11,553% growth.
- Digital Farmhands are purpose-built, mobile, intelligent robots, which do everything from spraying weeds to creating reports on crop yield. Developed by the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, there are now 14 robots deployed across the country. In 2019, Digital Farmhands obtained $6.5 million from agtech fund UniSeed, and venture capital firms Carthona Capital and BridgeLane Group, to commercialise their tech through spin-out company Agerris.
“With everything happening right now, I’m delighted that we can share such success stories from Australian and New Zealand research organisations,” Chair of KCA, Dr Erin Rayment, says. “It’s with these products, services and companies that we will continue to change the world for the better.”
For more interviews, footage and stills, please contact Tracey Spicer at gemaker: firstname.lastname@example.org (0411) 281 854.
About Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA)
Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) is the peak body for organisations and individuals associated with knowledge commercialisation and exchange between public sector research organisations and business and government entities. We seek to link, enable and inspire our members, and provide the necessary tools and opportunities to spur on greater translation of research for economic and community benefit, and create a more vibrant and productive Australian economy. www.techtransfer.org.au
gemaker conducted the survey and delivered the SCOPR report on behalf of KCA. gemaker is a commercialisation agency, which provides Australian researchers and innovators with expert advice, services and training to commercialise new knowledge and technology. We are a team of technical and commercial specialists in market research, marketing and digital communications, IP strategy and commercialisation in the renewables, new materials, mining, environmental ICT, education and space sectors. gemaker is an associate member of KCA. www.gemaker.com.au