The University of Newcastle has signed on as an official partner of Uniseed – Australia’s longest running venture fund dedicated to helping university researchers turn their ideas into products and services that deliver impact for our communities.
The University is one of five new institutions to join Uniseed, in a move that doubles the number of partners and expands the potential to support startups, spinouts and commercial technologies developed by Australian researchers.
The University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University and Macquarie University have also been announced as new NSW partners in the fund, alongside Monash University.
Uniseed facilitates the commercialisation of its research partners’ most promising intellectual property and helps secure targeted investment for products and technologies that arise from that IP.
Since it was established in 2000, Uniseed has funded 66 startups, each born from Australian research and ingenuity. Seventeen of these have achieved commercial deals with international companies.
University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor of Industry and Engagement Mr Warwick Dawson will join the Uniseed Board of Directors, representing the NSW syndicate.
“Innovation is the bridge that enables the translation of research to economic and social impact. By joining the Uniseed venture fund, the five new university partners are bringing new investment potential to Australian researchers and boosting our ability to deliver impact that matters to our industries and our communities,” Mr Dawson said.
The University of Newcastle already boasts a strong record of supporting spinoff companies based on innovations developed by our world-class researchers.
“We’ve seen home-grown companies like MGA Thermal and Kardinia Energy go from strength to strength, fuelled by the ideas and ingenuity of University of Newcastle researchers,” Mr Dawson said.
“The virotheraphy firm Viralytics – which was founded by Professor Darren Shaffren and supported by our HMRI and TUNRA teams – was the subject of one of the largest biotech buyouts in Australian history, selling for $502million (AUD).
“By joining Uniseed, we are creating yet another platform to help our researchers translate new knowledge into commercial technologies that solve market problems and help our communities thrive,” Mr Dawson said.
Alexander Post (L) and Professor Erich Kisi (R) from MGA Thermal.
The five new partners join the Universities of Queensland, New South Wales, Melbourne, and Sydney, and the CSIRO as partners, each of whom currently spend over $1 billion a year on research. The newly expanded set of partners, who all rank within the top 25 Australian universities for research expenditure, collectively spend around $7.7b on research annually, making up ~60% of the total research spend by all research organisations in Australia.
With this expansion, Uniseed will grow from representing 43% to 60% of expenditure on research in Australia; from 46% to 57% of annual invention disclosures; from 48% to 62% of patent applications filed; from 50% to 68% of active patent families; from 45% to 77% of new start-ups formed; and from 42% to 53% of active start-ups.
Uniseed’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Peter Devine, said that the expanded partner set demonstrates the important role Uniseed can play in investing in researchers, technologies and businesses that will change the world for the better.
“The existing partners and I are proud to welcome five new universities to the Uniseed partnership – Monash University, the University of Newcastle, UTS, the Western Sydney University and Macquarie University. Each university represented in the partnership is of excellent quality and reputation – each ranked within the top 25 of Australian universities, and joined by CSIRO, Australia’s preeminent scientific institution,” Dr Devine said.
“This is a very significant partnership expansion as it considerably expands the reach we can offer in funding new startups and commercialising technologies developed by Australian research institutions. Where previously we had the ability to support 42% of spin outs from research organisations in Australia, our partners will now cover more than half of all commercial research output generated by Australian institutions.”
More than 1,000 people have been employed through funding from Uniseed start-ups, either directly or by Uniseed research partners via contract research agreements with our companies. More than $1.2 billion has been raised by the 66 start-ups supported by Uniseed, reflecting their significance to the Australian economy.