Research-industry collaborations are essential for effectively creating impact with science. At ON, we've made it our mission to help publicly funded researchers feel empowered to effectively engage and collaborate with industry.

A prime example (excuse the pun) is CocoBIO Australia, a team from The University of Queensland that went through ON Prime3 in 2017.

CocoBIO Australia came in the ON Prime program with a technology that allowed for radical improvements in the cloning of coconuts , making the supply of coconuts on a large scale more feasible.

This 'core' cloning technology was an innovative new step that bypasses the traditional seed-based coconut farming and had been successfully tested on a wide range of coconut varieties. The team had a vision of stimulating the commercial farming of coconuts in Australia.

CocoBIO Australia is helping popularize coconut farming in Australia.  © Pixabay, Pexels

Through ON Prime, the researchers were able to gather critical feedback about the specific pains of coconut growers and manufacturers. It helped shape the direction of their research and technology development pathway so that their technology had the best chance of being adopted by growers. This enabled the researchers to refine and target their industry engagement efforts and develop research propositions that better aligned with the growers needs. 

As a result of the engagements developed through and post ON Prime, they have recently signed a 3-year $1.32 M research agreement with Kokoniu to improve coconut somatic embryogenesis (cloning) for commercialisation in Australia. They are also just about to embark on a 5-year agricultural development project: Safeguarding and Deploying Coconut Genetic Diversity for Improving Coastal Livelihoods in the Pacific Islands.

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