Innovative program helps turn researchers into award winning entrepreneurs

October 6, 2016

Dr Sofie De Meyer is one of the winners in the Start Something competition.

Dr Sofie De Meyer is one of the winners in the Start Something competition.

Research staff from Murdoch University have enhanced their commercial and industry engagement thanks to a demanding entrepreneurial program.

The first Murdoch University cohort have emerged from the Start Something training program with new found skills, knowledge, industry links and a host of awards.

Agricultural science researcher Dr Sofie De Meyer said the Start Something program was important in helping researchers translate between the language of the academic and business and enhanced industry connectivity.

“With increasing difficulty to get funding from state government grants, it’s good to move towards more industry focused research,” Dr De Meyer said.

“That’s why it’s absolutely important to continue to translate our research or ideas into industry fundable projects, which will hopefully lead to more money for future projects.”

Start Something brought together a number of industry experts to which researchers could hone their business pitch ideas. Researchers then braved a panel of industry leaders, plus a room of experts from varying sectors to sell their commercial business model.

Dr De Meyer was among the many winners, receiving an award for her MALDIID idea, which is a root nodule identifier for farmers and institutes. She said her research team benefited from using the knowledge and skills acquired through the program.

“We officially started the MALDIID service a couple of weeks ago,” she added.

“With MALDIID we can't change the climate but we can tell whether the best rhizobia strain is housed within the legume root nodule.”

Innovation Cluster Founder Peter Rossdeutscher said: “The goal of Start Something is to connect industry and research whilst stimulating and guiding first steps for as many researchers as possible.  This will create the robust network of pathways and linkages needed to accelerate broad commercialisation of the State’s world class research.”

David Flanagan, Murdoch University Chancellor, was one of the judging panel and said Murdoch was delighted to be working with incubation experts Atomic Sky and Innovation Cluster on the entrepreneurial program.

Start Something is an exciting initiative and an important component in broadening the commercialisation of the University’s world-class research,” he said.

Prizes for Start Something at Murdoch included entrepreneurship program scholarships, mentoring for commercialisation progress thanks to Atomic Sky, CSA Global, CISCO, Studio StartUp, Curtin Ignition, Murdoch University and CERI.

The cohort also received start-up community membership via the TechHub entrepreneurship program.

The full list of Murdoch Start Something award winners are below:

Start Something CSIRO Commercialisation Award :Dr Rakesh Veedu (Nanoweb-DNA amplification)

Start Something Atomic Sky Innovation Prize: Dr Sofie De Meyer (MALDI ID; root nodule bacteria identification)

Start Something Social Impact Prize: Ashleigh Roberts (Industry engagement in the PhD)

Start Something Entrepreneurship CERI Prize: Dr Ravi Brundavanam (Dental Decay; Nano-Macro ceramic toothpaste)

Start Something in Minerals Prize: Dr Aleks Nikoloski (Catalytic Anodes for Oxygen evolution)

Start Something in Minerals Prize: Dr Manjree Agarwal (Fresh and processed cheese from Australian sweet lupin milk)

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