What is ON Prime?

The ON Prime program is designed to support Australian researchers in attracting the resources they need to create impact.

We provide training and support to help researchers navigate the changing funding landscape, test pathways for IP and market validation.

All teams who participate in ON Prime will have access to our experienced Facilitators and an 80+ strong ON Mentor network of business leaders and entrepreneurs who've been there and done it before. If that's not enough, teams who complete the program can earn up to $4000, with an extra $3000 available for the most engaged team in each city. And the good news is, all IP and equity remains the property of the team or their sponsoring institute.

Time commitment

  • eight week course
  • six face-to-face sessions and time to work on your project
  • total commitment is an average of 10 hours per week.

ON Prime culminates in a final 'Showcase' event that profiles teams to an audience.

[Music plays and an image appears of a rear and then facing view of Dr Retha Wiesner]

[Images flash through of dust swirling, a car travelling on a desert, scenes of women in an African village and Dr Retha Wiesner driving and text appears: Dr Retha Wiesner, WiRE Founder]

Dr Retha Wiesner: I grew up in Africa watching amazing strong women and their wonderful roles they play in community development.

[Image changes to show Retha standing outside a building and talking to the camera]

I think that’s probably what started it for me.

[Image changes to show Australian bushland and the camera pans to the left and then the image changes to show Retha exiting a car and walking into a building]

Since then I’ve developed and run programmes in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, to develop the entrepreneurial skill and trying to advance women in their own countries.

[Image changes to show two females in conversation and smiling and then the image changes to show Retha talking to the camera and then in conversation with the two females]

I’ve always received a great response and it’s a great feeling to see the roll-on effect and the difference it makes.

[Image changes to show a female sitting in bushland working on a laptop and then the camera zooms in on her hands on the keyboard and then on her face as she smiles in greeting]

When I moved to Australia 22 years ago, I found that in rural areas we’re facing very similar problems.

[Images move through of Retha sitting next to the female, an aerial view of scrubland, a rear view of Retha at an office desk and Retha in conversation and smiling with two females]

Many women feel unsupported in their entrepreneurial goals and very often fall into stereotypical roles purely because they don’t know how not to.

[Image changes to show Retha talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a female walking along a river bank and collecting a water sample]

I felt with my previous experience I could play a role in changing that.

[Camera zooms up to show the female’s face and then the image changes to show the female looking at the water sample in a plastic beaker]

The WiRE programme was developed to support rural women in their entrepreneurial goals.

[Image swaps between the female talking on the phone near the river and Retha talking on the phone in an office]

We created it with over 300 women in 15 locations throughout Queensland and we also held think tanks to find out how we can best support them.

[Image changes to show Retha standing outside a building talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a female placing a drone down on the ground by the side of a country road]

I won’t run a programme unless it has impact and the WiRE programme was a perfect opportunity to do just that.

[Images flash through of the female controlling the drone in operation, the path of the drone, Retha talking to the camera and the drone in operation again]

The idea was very well received but we found it very difficult to secure funding for this particular programme as opposed to some of the international programmes we were running.

[Image changes to show the female walking towards the drone and then the image changes to show Retha working on a computer]

With a view to develop the programme into the future we applied for the ON Prime programme powered by the CSIRO.

[Images move through of groups of people in conversation around tables and then the image changes to show an audience applauding]

It’s really helped us to develop our business plan and to determine how we’re going to move forward.

[Images flash through of Retha in various conversations with other females, various females at work in bushland settings and Retha smiling]

We conducted over 100 interviews as part of this programme and it really helped us to look into our enterprise, into our audience and also into our business plan. It really gave us the confidence to take the bull by the horns to find the funding we need.

[Image changes to show a rear view of Retha looking at a tree and then the image changes to show an aerial view looking down on bushland]

Now, there’s nothing holding us back.

[Music plays and text appears: The future is ON, powered by CSIRO, csiro.au/on]

ON Prime – The WiRES experience :  Hear from one of our amazing ON Tribe members, Dr Retha Wiersner from WiRES - who are now making real impact for women in rural communities because of the ON program.

How do I apply?

Applying is a simple two-step process.

Step 1: An online application

Each team is required to fill out an online application form on the ON Application portal and include a business model canvas, with the option to include a video. You must have an eligible university or PFRA email address to apply (See "Eligibility" below for more details).

Step 2: Online evaluation

Once the application date has closed, online evaluation will commence and the highest rated applications will be invited to participate in ON Prime. Successful teams will be notified approximately two weeks after the application closing date. Applicants who do not successfully progress to ON Prime will be provided with access to detailed feedback from the evaluation process to help them refine and continue to work on their sci-tech ideas.

Applications are evaluated by a team of CSIRO and external experts in commercialisation and investment, against the following key criteria:

  • evidence of impact potential and market opportunity
  • competitive strength - technology readiness level and IP position
  • team strength - diversity, ability to be coached, multidisciplinary and cross-organisation
  • evidence of traction relevant to the program being applied for.

Important Prime application dates

Prime 6 program dates

Applications open 4 Feb - 1 Mar 2019.
Prime6 program runs 6 May until 2 August 2019.

Expected Prime 7 program dates

Applications open 10 June - 7 July 2019.
Prime7 program runs 2 September until 22 November 2019

What are the eligibility requirements for ON Prime?

ON exists to support Australian researchers. Our programs are open to researchers who are an employee of an Australian:

  • University
  • Publicly funded research agency (e.g. CSIRO, ANSTO, etc.)
  • Medical Research Institute
  • State or Federal Government department, where the person is employed in a research capacity (e.g. Department of Primary Industries).

Current and recently completed (<12 months) PhD students from Australian Universities are also eligible.

Applicants to our programs must meet these criteria.

If you are applying as a team, only the lead applicant needs to meet these criteria, the rest of your team can come from anywhere.

For further information, please contact us on@csiro.au and talk to one of our team.

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