AgriStart Helps UWA Researchers Accelerate Innovation with Start Something

AgriStart supported Start Something from Research at Murdoch University with mentoring, judging and an agribusiness prize in conjunction with CSBP. Prizes recognised the potential impact, commercialisation readiness and progress made during the initiative.

Judges included Dr Natasha Ayers, AgriStart; Rob Plumb, Waters Corporation (USA); Kate Chaney, Strategy Consultant; Prof. Chris Hutchison, Murdoch University; Dr Dawn Driscoll, DCi Biotech; Peter Rossdeutscher, Atomic Sky. 

Particular congratulations to the four Award Winners; 

  • Murdoch Commercialisation Innovation Prize; Lupin Protien Isolate Initiative, Calum Watt
  • AgriStart Innovation Prize; Extending the Life of Fresh Produce, Kirsty Bayliss
  • Start Something Prize; Biomedical Activated Charcoal for Overdose Applications, Supriya Rattan
  • Murdoch Commercialisation Prize; Platform for Enabling Sustainable Housing, Camila Fonseca Mazzo for her
“Start Something taught me a great deal about the commercialisation process and will help me focus on the steps required to deliver positive outcomes of commercialising research. The industry introductions were particularly beneficial.” - Calum Watt, Western Barley Genetics Alliance, School of Veterinary and Life Science.

Murdoch University Provost, Professor Andrew Taggart, highlighted to the industry audience the highly proactive approach that Murdoch takes in commercialisation skills and impact pathways. Start Something is one of those pathways taking researchers from their labs to receive new skills plus industry engagement.

The pitch finalists each earned their place on finals night via competitive pitch-off process through the five week program. They came from multiple areas including agri-business, education, clean-energy, agri-food, sustainable building, information technology and biomedical. 

The evening closed with a networking session which saw industry executives locking in follow up meetings with the presenters. A great sign of Start Something delivering economic impact from research in Western Australia.

Natasha Ayers 4 July 2017

Meet our alumni


Start Something was launched in 2015 with an interdisciplinary group of researchers with a diverse range of projects. Here are some of their stories:

Dr Rebecca Braham, Senior Lecturer
School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health

Rebecca co-founded a health and well-being business committed to improving the fundamental movement skills (FMS) of children aged between five and 11.

"Start Something was a great opportunity to connect with like-minded academics and be mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs. Our team are now building a prototype for our first mobile app."

Ghulam Mubashar Hassan, PhD Candidate
School of Computer Science & Software Engineering

Ghulam developed a solution to measure strain in mining structures to improve safety in the resources industry and won the CSA Global Prize for Entrepreneurship.

"Conducting research with high impact is most important to me. Start Something gave me an opportunity to understand how my research has impact and what other dynamics need to be considered."

Innovative program helps turn researchers into award winning entrepreneurs

Research staff from Murdoch University have enhanced their commercial and industry engagement thanks to a demanding entrepreneurial program.

Dr Sofie De Meyer is one of the winners in the Start Something competition

Dr Sofie De Meyer is one of the winners in the Start Something competition

The first Murdoch University cohort have emerged from the Start Something training program with new found skills, knowledge, industry links and a host of awards.

Agricultural science researcher Dr Sofie De Meyer said the Start Something program was important in helping researchers translate between the language of the academic and business and enhanced industry connectivity.

“With increasing difficulty to get funding from state government grants, it’s good to move towards more industry focused research,” Dr De Meyer said.

“That’s why it’s absolutely important to continue to translate our research or ideas into industry fundable projects, which will hopefully lead to more money for future projects.”

Start Something brought together a number of industry experts to which researchers could hone their business pitch ideas. Researchers then braved a panel of industry leaders, plus a room of experts from varying sectors to sell their commercial business model.

Dr De Meyer was among the many winners, receiving an award for her MALDIID idea, which is a root nodule identifier for farmers and institutes. She said her research team benefited from using the knowledge and skills acquired through the program.

“We officially started the MALDIID service a couple of weeks ago,” she added.

“With MALDIID we can't change the climate but we can tell whether the best rhizobia strain is housed within the legume root nodule.”

Innovation Cluster Founder Peter Rossdeutscher said: “The goal of Start Something is to connect industry and research whilst stimulating and guiding first steps for as many researchers as possible.  This will create the robust network of pathways and linkages needed to accelerate broad commercialisation of the State’s world class research.”

David Flanagan, Murdoch University Chancellor, was one of the judging panel and said Murdoch was delighted to be working with incubation experts Atomic Sky and Innovation Cluster on the entrepreneurial program.

Start Something is an exciting initiative and an important component in broadening the commercialisation of the University’s world-class research,” he said.

Prizes for Start Something at Murdoch included entrepreneurship program scholarships, mentoring for commercialisation progress thanks to Atomic Sky, CSA Global, CISCO, Studio StartUp, Curtin Ignition, Murdoch University and CERI.

The cohort also received start-up community membership via the TechHub entrepreneurship program.

The full list of Murdoch Start Something award winners are below:

Start Something CSIRO Commercialisation Award :Dr Rakesh Veedu (Nanoweb-DNA amplification)

Start Something Atomic Sky Innovation Prize: Dr Sofie De Meyer (MALDI ID; root nodule bacteria identification)

Start Something Social Impact Prize: Ashleigh Roberts (Industry engagement in the PhD)

Start Something Entrepreneurship CERI Prize: Dr Ravi Brundavanam (Dental Decay; Nano-Macro ceramic toothpaste)

Start Something in Minerals Prize: Dr Aleks Nikoloski (Catalytic Anodes for Oxygen evolution)

Start Something in Minerals Prize: Dr Manjree Agarwal (Fresh and processed cheese from Australian sweet lupin milk)