The Victorian government will provide $100 million in pre-seed investment funding to the state’s nine universities over five years to support research commercialisation. Each university will co-design their own funds with university startups and spinouts to receive up to $1 million each.
The money comes from the state’s $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria initiative, the government-owned, independent investment fund manager established last year to support commercialisation over a decade.
Only one Victorian university, Deakin, was successful in the federal government’s university research commercialisation program which provided six universities with $50 million in additional funding.
The $100 million Breakthrough Victoria – University Innovation Platform was announced by the Premier on Thursday, but made its first investment last week in the University of Melbourne’s $15 million Genesis Fund.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the new $100 million Innovation Platform was about backing homegrown ideas and research to change lives and create jobs.
“This is about supporting promising ideas at a crucial stage so we can keep our best and brightest innovators here on home soil – something that’s good for jobs, and good for Victorians,” Mr Andrews said.
The platform will provide University startups with investments between $200,000 and $1 million.
The government’s funding will come with commercial agreements to ensure the venture that do succeed provide a return to the state.
The $100 million platform will be split between the states major universities: RMIT, Swinburne, Monash, Melbourne, Victoria, La Trobe, Deakin, Federation and the Australian Catholic University.
The universities will be required to match the government funding for the Breakthrough Victoria – University Innovation Platform.
“This is a real breakthrough moment that will allow amazing potential to be transformed into reality, and Victorians will be partners in the journey,” said Victorian Treasure Tim Pallas.
Breakthrough Victoria was announced in the 2020 state budget, with $2 billion allocated over 10 years. In 2021, Former ARA Infrastructure boss and ex-trade official Grant Dooley was appointed to lead the fund, while former premier and now La Trobe University Chancellor John Brumby was named as chair.
“Stimulating commercial thinking and entrepreneurial spirit with know-how and capital across the state’s universities is a very exciting prospect,” Mr Brumby said Thursday.
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