CSIRO Kick-Start: Up To $50k for Your SMEs R&D

SME CSIRO Kick-Start Program R&D

The CSIRO Kick-Start program is yet another source of government funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and can contribute between $10k and $50k matched spending for a CSIRO researcher to assist in an R&D project.

CSIRO Kick-Start is part of CSIRO’s strategic commitment to directly supporting Australian technology start-ups and SMEs in areas of national growth priorities, and it comes under the umbrella of the CSIRO SME Connect program.

If you are considering integrating R&D into your business strategy on a longer-term basis, then it is highly recommended to familiarise yourself with the details of the broader SME Connect program, which has three levels of matched-funding grants for research projects and researcher placements for SME businesses of various sizes. To encourage you to think about possible R&D scenarios for your SME, reflect on this: with the right planning you could be leveraging CSIRO-assisted R&D to help improve and grow your business with up to $575,000 dollar-for-dollar funding as you progress through the various SME Connect programs over a 5–6 year period (combination of CSIRO Kick-Start, Innovation Connections, and STEM+Business).

But let’s get back to the CSIRO Kick-Start, which is where most SMEs will start. Eligibility requirements for this program include having annual turnover and operating expenditure of less than $1.5 million in the current and each of the last two financial years OR having been a registered company for less than 3 years.

This is a program well worth having a look at, given that it normally doesn’t take too much time to complete the initial two-page “Expression of Interest” form, with a brief outline required for the technology/product/service that you are interested in further researching/developing/testing, and the activities and deliverables to be achieved within the scope of the proposed CSIRO-based project within a 12-month maximum period. A rough budget for the activities is also required. Remember that, if the whole project expenditure were $100k, the CSIRO Kick-start could contribute up to $50k. Eligible expenditure includes the following: salaries and on-costs of researcher(s), travel and accommodation (if required), administrative/overhead/operating costs, consumables, and project-critical external facilities access/services/contractors.

From the “Expression of Interest” form, the CSIRO’s SME Connect team will then identify — from their national network of facilitators and contacts — a suitable researcher for your project, who will develop and cost a proposal for you if necessary, and they can then prepare a full application form, which you will need to sign and attach appropriate documentation to. The SME Connect team aims to review fully completed applications within 5-10 working days.

After completing your first CSIRO Kick-Start project, you can apply for a second project, providing your SME continues to satisfy the eligibility requirements.

If you’re looking at growing your R&D capacity, you know you need the best advice to keep moving onward and upward. Fullstack has the knowledge and expertise to keep you on the right path by ensuring you receive the right advice and all the R&D grants, incentives and rebates you’re entitled to.

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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech & online companies.

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