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The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) carries out scientific research to: assist Australian industry; further the interests of the Australian community; and contribute to the achievement of Australian national objectives or the performance of the national and international responsibilities of the Commonwealth. It aims to encourage or facilitate the application or utilisation of the results of such research.

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Learn more about SME Connect

Name SME Connect
Potential Value Co-contribution

The SME Connect team connects Australian small to medium sized businesses with Australia's research sector, facilitating and enabling innovation-driven partnerships through funding, support and resources.

Program: CSIRO Kickstart
Matched funding: Up to $50K
SME turnover: <$1.5 million
Project length: < 1 year
Research organisations: CSIRO only

Program: Innovation Connections
Matched funding: 2 grants, up to $100k in total (+ $30k graduate)
SME turnover: $1.5 – 100 million
Project length: 2 – 12 months
Research organisations: All public research organisations

Program: STEM+ Business
Matched funding: Up to $105k per annum (up to three years)
SME turnover: $1 – 100 million
Project length: 2 – 3 years
Research organisations: All public research organisations

Eligible Businesses

CSIRO Kick Start

  • Have an annual turnover and operating expenditure <$1.5million, in the current and each of the two previous financial years (if applicable),
  • Have an ACN and be registered for GST, and
  • Be able to demonstrate they can fully support their proportion of the project funding.

Innovation Connections

  • Have an annual turnover or operating expenditure between $1.5m and $100m (or a minimum turnover of $750,000 in remote regions).
  • Have an Australian Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • Have traded for at least three years and are financially solvent.
  • Operate in one of the five growth sectors covered by the Australian Government's Industry Growth Centres Initiative:
    • Advanced Manufacturing
    • Food and Agribusiness
    • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
    • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
    • Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources
    • or provide enabling technologies and services (e.g. ICT) to a business working in one of the growth sectors listed above.

STEM + Business

  • Have completed, or be in the process of completing, an AusIndustry Researcher-in-Business or Research Connections / Innovation Connections project.
  • OR

  • Have an annual turnover or operating expenditure between $1.0m and $100m in the current or two preceding financial years, AND
  • Has collaborated with a research organisation on a 1-1 basis for at least 5 months, with the company contributing at least $25k.

The program is specifically designed for early-career researchers (ECRs), and will provide personal development opportunities in industrially-relevant research, commercial awareness and potential future employment opportunities. To be eligible, each ECR must:

  • Have completed a research higher degree (PhD or Masters) in a STEM subject, or have a bachelor’s degree in engineering with relevant research experience, AND
  • Have no more than 6 years relevant experience since conferral of their last degree.

If there is no ECR currently available at the chosen research organisation, funding can still be approved on the condition that an eligible ECR be hired at the start of the project.


Provides a framework and coaching to help companies:

  • defining the business problem to be solved, and/or identifying the research opportunity
  • locating the right research capability to meet those needs
  • facilitating the project scoping and design
  • accessing and applying for grant funding
  • Assisting with project agreements and contracting.