$5M strategic innovation fund created

La Trobe University has created a $5 million strategic innovation fund to fast track the translation of research findings into successful business ventures.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the dedicated fund- sourced from returns on the University’s long term investments - would be available to University researchers to help unleash the full impact of their work.

“A core role of universities is to generate new ideas and find new discoveries that have a positive economic, social or cultural impact on our society,” Professor Dewar said.

“La Trobe researchers are at the forefront of thinking in a wide range of disciplines and we want to create the opportunity to ensure the community can benefit from our ideas.

“We recognise the importance of promoting and supporting innovation within our organisation and the communities we support.   By dedicating a portion of our investment returns into a Strategic Investment Fund, we have the opportunity to re-invest in the research conducted at La Trobe.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor Industry Engagement Dr Dan Grant said the Strategic Innovation Fund would help emerging La Trobe technologies bridge the “Valley of Death” between research findings and commercialisation.

“This seed funding will help support the establishment of spin-out companies from Intellectual Property developed within La Trobe University.  The fund will also allow us to develop promising early-stage research to the point where it is attractive to commercial partners for licensing or venture investment,” Dr Grant said.

Dr Grant said the University would also soon launch an Accelerator Program which would act as a launch pad for innovative business ideas coming out of University campuses and the communities we support. The program would act as a pipeline to the Innovation Fund.

“The La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP) will leverage our campuses located in key regional centres in Victoria and in metropolitan Melbourne to attract talent, align knowledge translation with priority areas, generate commercial activity through job growth and strengthen our economy,” he said.

“As a world-class university with a proven track record in innovation and discovery, La Trobe University is uniquely positioned to bring an innovation culture to regional Victoria and the communities of Bendigo, Shepparton, Wodonga and Mildura.

“By unlocking the innovation that exists within our university communities we hope to create an innovative ecosystem in regional Victoria.  We also envisage the Accelerator will be a catalyst for strengthening the diversity and capability of Victoria’s start-up ecosystem. The La Trobe Accelerator will accept its first intake
in May of 2017.

Media: Tim Mitchell  9479 5246 /  0437 457780