Professor Michael Withford and Dr Simon Gross from the Department of Physics and Astronomy are part of a team selected to take part in the next round of CSIRO’s ON Accelerator, a program boosting Australia’s innovation performance by accelerating big science and technology ideas into commercially viable innovation opportunities.
For the first time CSIRO welcomed Australian university applications into the program, recognising the importance of collaboration and engagement between research sectors in driving Australia’s innovation agenda.
Macquarie’s team Modular Photonics is a collaboration with the University of Adelaide and ANU.
The team’s winning idea – a photonics chip that has applications for faster data transfer in data and telecommunication companies – is built on the strengths of Australian photonics research to increase the speed and flow of data to, from and within data centres. The chip is currently three times faster than market technology.
“Before commencing the program I believed that as university researchers we understand real world needs and can readily identify potential commercial opportunities. I can see now that we are frequently guilty of developing a ‘solution’ first and then go in search of a problem. The CSIRO program has enabled us to focus on the problem first and trust that we will find the right solution later. This will involve learning how to better identify potential end-users and ask the right questions,” said Professor Withford.
“One of my key learnings from the program was that having an interesting technology is not sufficient for commercial success. The program has changed my approach to commercialisation and I’m looking forward to learning more through the 12-week CSIRO AcceleratiON bootcamp,” said Dr Gross.