Victorian universities forge partnerships to drive research commercialisation and manufacturing

Image credit: Minister Ben Carroll's Twitter

The Victorian Government has unveiled a series of co-investment partnerships with five leading Victorian universities in a significant move to bolster research commercialisation and manufacturing capabilities within the state.

The new partnerships, amounting to $87 million, involve Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT University, and Swinburne University.

The initiative is part of the broader $100 million Breakthrough Victoria – University Innovation Platform, the government revealed in a media release. 

Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll made the announcement during his speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, a landmark event hosted in Victoria for the first time, drawing 4,000 investors and entrepreneurs from around the world.

As part of the cooperation, each university will contribute up to $9 million in funding, which will be matched by Breakthrough Victoria. 

This funding will be directed towards supporting startup and early-stage companies stemming from their own research initiatives, with typical pre-seed investments reaching approximately $500,000 each.

According to the government, investing in startups at this critical early stage will enable the financing of product concepts, prototypes, and trials, facilitating research with substantial commercial potential to progress beyond the research and development phase.

The partnerships are expected to fuel the development of local innovations and sovereign manufacturing capabilities while fostering a pipeline of Victorian products and startup companies, helping them scale up on a global scale.

This initiative also marks the sixth university partnership under the Breakthrough Victoria – University Innovation Platform, with the University of Melbourne Genesis Pre-Seed Fund having been announced last year.

In addition to the $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, the government is making targeted industry investments to drive innovation. 

This includes LaunchVic’s $15 million Alice Anderson Fund, designed to support women-led startups, and the $15 million Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund, aimed at incentivising local businesses to increase their research and development activities.

Minister Ben Carroll emphasised the government’s commitment to translating top-notch research and development from the state’s renowned universities into viable commercial opportunities, both locally and on a global scale. 

“We are backing the translation of unique research and development from our world-class universities into commercial opportunities locally and globally,” he stated.

Grant Dooley, CEO of Breakthrough Victoria, noted the significance of these partnerships in moving life-changing research out of the lab and into the market within Victoria.

“By setting up dedicated partnerships to invest in startups and early-stage companies coming out of Victorian universities, we can help move life-changing research out of the lab and into the market right here in Victoria,” Dooley concluded.