About the ON Accelerate Program

ON Accelerate is a structured full-time accelerator for research teams to validate and develop high potential innovative new ventures. We work with you to shorten your path to impact, by focusing on your business model, market validation, capital raising and storytelling.

All IP remains the property of the team or their sponsoring institute, and all participants are required to sign non-disclosure agreements for IP protection.

Program participation involves a three month commitment, with 18 days of face-to-face workshops in different locations around the country, and the rest working on your project at your home institution. There is no application or participation fee, and we cover your travel costs.

ON Accelerate concludes in a public Demo event where each team showcases their idea to industry and stakeholder guests – including multinational corporations, large Australian enterprises, SMEs, government, investors, and universities.

Key dates

  • Applications open: 29 July 2019
  • Applications close: 20 September 2019
  • Selection Bootcamp: Late November
  • Program Start: 17 February
  • Program End: 20 May


To be eligible for ON Accelerate, your team must include at least one researcher from a publicly funded institute. This includes:

  • Australian universities
  • 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)

Master's and PhD students are invited to apply for ON Accelerate.

Your team must have between 2-5 people, with a minimum of one researcher. We recommend you include a diverse skill set in your team such as business development, marketing, etc.

What you'll learn

During ON Accelerate, you'll be given frameworks and training from world-class mentors and facilitators to develop and test the most suitable commercial model for you to achieve impact.

Teams are also given intensive coaching around business planning, networking, financial acumen, contracts, media management, investment relations, prototyping, effective teams, and pitching from some of Australia’s leading experts.

Travel and time

This is a full-time program and 100% attendance is expected. Face-to-face sessions take place around Australia, roughly every two weeks, and you will be expected to travel. The ON program will help with these costs.

A truly national program, ON Accelerate takes you and your cohort all over the country, experiencing face-to-face sessions in major cities. These immersive sessions not only allow you to carve out time together as a team, but also means you network with the nation's best at carefully curated events.

We encourage teams to arrive a day early so they can arrange face-to-face meetings with high value potential customers, partners and stakeholders to get the most out of the travel miles.

Your institution

Your institution is a partner in your ON experience. We ask applicants to ensure they have the complete support from their university, agency or organisation before applying to ON Accelerate. As well as working with your tech transfer office or business development team, we also encourage you to reach out to other units for support, such as your media or content teams.

Rewards and awards

Each team successful in gaining a spot in ON Accelerate is provided with a $15,000 operation expenditure budget to assist them with participation in the program.

We also offer two awards to high performing individuals in partnership with the Stanford Australia Foundation (SAF). These are awarded at the Demo event.

An additional performance bonus of up to $10,000 is available for high performing teams during ON Accelerate.

Post program services

We continue to support our teams even after the program has finished. Services are bespoke and aim to help teams with structure, support, scale and sustainability. More information about this kind of support will be made available during your program, but examples of services include business development, legal and IP consultations, marketing and media, and financial advice.

Call on the Tribe

[Music plays and images move through of different scenes in Adelaide City and then the image changes to show Simon and James Palmer walking across a bridge towards the camera]

James Palmer:  I moved to Adelaide for work and that’s actually where Simon and I met.  

[Camera zooms in on Simon and James Palmer and then the image changes to show James Palmer talking and Simon listening]

We formed Silentium Defence in the end of 2016.  

[Image changes to show Simon and James Palmer walking along a footpath towards the camera]

So, I’m the co-founder and CEO.

[Image changes to show Simon talking and James Palmer listening]

Simon: And I’m the other co-founder and CTO. 

[Images move through of a hand writing on a whiteboard, Simon and James Palmer, Simon writing on a whiteboard and James Palmer talking]

The thing that I love about our job is the experimental focus of actually getting out into the field and doing those experiments.  

[Image changes to show Simon and James Palmer looking at a computer and talking and then the camera zooms in on the computer screen]

James Palmer:  What we are developing is called a passive radar which is like a regular radar except it doesn’t transmit.  

[Images move through of Simon and James Palmer, the computer screen, Simon talking and James Palmer listening and Simon and James Palmer walking along the footpath in front of a building carrying equipment]

Simon:  We’re using existing energy already in that environment as our transmission source instead of actually transmitting it ourselves.  

[Image continues to show them walking and holding equipment and then the camera zooms in on the equipment and then the camera zooms out to show their faces]

James Palmer:  So, after doing over a decade of research together, we actually discussed the commercialisation of this technology.  

[Camera zooms in on the equipment]

I think we’ve always been very good at innovating in this country.  

[Images move through of a room of computers, Simon and James Palmer walking into the room and James Palmer putting the equipment on the desk]

We have really bright people doing lots of really smart work.  I think where we’ve sort of fallen down as a country is in commercialising some of that technology and development.  

[Image changes to show Simon and James Palmer working on the equipment and the camera zooms in on Simon’s hand on a control panel and then the camera zooms in on the equipment]

What the ON programme is doing is seeking to change that and I really do feel like it’s having an impact.  

[Images move through of Simon and James Palmer and other people at the two-day boot camp participating in activities, talking and listening and then Simon listening and James Palmer talking]

Going through the CSIRO ON programme, that just enabled us to actually switch from our research backgrounds to that business focus and it was actually from the two-day boot camp that we really recognised how naïve or ignorant we were around the business development side and how much this programme would be a boost to what we wanted to try and achieve through Silentium Defence.  

[Images move through of James Palmer in front of the Silentium Defence stand, a computer screen display and people in conversation]

The whole programme was absolutely first class.  

[Images move through of people talking to an audience, James Palmer talking to the camera while Simon listens, a male looking through a type of glasses, a hand drawing on a paper and the audience]

The facilitators, the mentor panel they bring to bear, absolutely fantastic and the level of expertise they can impart in a very short period of time is phenomenal.  

[Images move through of James Palmer talking to an audience, the audience clapping, James Palmer talking into a microphone and a computer screen image of James Palmer talking into the microphone]

Simon:  Yeah and the energy in the room when we got together was amazing.  It just gave us the ability and the momentum to want to do more. 

[Images move through of James Palmer closing down a laptop and then Simon and James Palmer walking towards the camera]

In the next ten years, we’re going to partner up with the global industry primes and we’re going to get Silentium Defence Passive Radars sold all over the world.  

[Image changes to show Simon talking and James Palmer listening and then the camera zooms in on a profile view of Simon]

We trust the technology.  We know the technology and we know it’s full potential.  

[Camera zooms in on James Palmer looking at the camera and smiling]

So, we want to make this a reality.

[Image changes to show a rear view of Simon and James Palmer walking through a door and away from the camera]

James Palmer:  We are engineers and that’s our training.  We haven’t got the business expertise and skills.  

[Image changes to show James Palmer talking and Simon listening and then the image changes to show Simon and James Palmer smiling at the camera]

The CSIRO ON Accelerate Programme actually gave us the tools to better understand our customers as well as putting all of the meat around that to make a business.

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

Silentium Defence

[Music plays and text appears on a blue screen: ON powered by CSIRO]


[Images move through of a view of a coal port in Newcastle and the camera pans along the shoreline showing silos, cranes and buildings]


Joss Kesby: Growing up near Newcastle, looking out to the largest coal port in Australia, the writing was on the wall.


[Images shows a rotating wheel on a crane and then the image changes to show a facing and then profile view of Joss Kesby talking to the camera with the port in the background and text appears: Joss Kesby, Diffuse Energy]


There has got to be a better, cleaner, safer way to produce our energy.


[Image changes to show Joss and two males looking at a turbine and the camera zooms in on the turbine and then the image changes to show James working on a computer]


The three of us met at the University of Newcastle and we quickly realised we shared a passion for renewable energy, and we got along pretty well.


[Camera zooms in on the turbine on the computer screen he is working on and then the image shows James getting up from the desk and taking two pieces of turbine from a machine]


So, it made sense for us to work together to provide a solution for a better future.


[Images move through of James and Joss working on the turbine, a tool tightening bolts on the turbine, Joss and James walking down stairs, and the turbine being put into a testing area]


Originally the idea was simple, to produce a wind turbine that is more efficient than our competitors’ and with the help of James and Sam, we’ve actually produced a turbine that is twice as efficient as the competitors’.


[Images move through of Joss, James and Sam in conversation and then the image changes to show the turbine in operation]


Sam Evans: The biggest problem was that we were too focussed on the engineering.


[Image changes to show the three males working on the turbine]


It meant we didn’t know where it was going or how we’d get it there.


[Images move through of the turbine, the three males holding the turbine up, Sam Evans talking to the camera and the males looking at the turbine and text appears: Sam Evans, Diffuse Energy]


The ON Programme really helped get our technology out of the lab and into the real world and this is a massive change in mindset.


[Images move through of people looking at the turbine being demonstrated at an ON event, and then the image changes to show a Smartscreen displaying the text: Diffuse Energy]


Our team leader, Joss, kind of tripped over the programme and convinced us all to get in have a crack at it.


[Images move through of Joss talking into a microphone on the stage at an ON event, and then the audience applauding]


After the first couple of session, we realised this is actually quite powerful, and it’s been fantastic.


[Image changes to show James Bradley in an office talking to the camera and then images move through of the team at an ON event in conversation and text appears: James Bradley, Diffuse Energy]


James Bradley: Coming from a research background, it’s really difficult to think about how you’d sell yourself or a product but with all the tools that we’ve learnt it’s made life so much easier for us.


[Images move through of Joss receiving an award, then Joss, James and Sam smiling at the camera, and then all three around the turbine and in conversation at the Newcastle port]


Part of the motivation for us was to get ahead of the curve and if you look at where we are now compared to where we would have been without the ON Accelerate and ON Prime programs, we are way ahead.


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


Meet the ON graduates: Diffuse Energy

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