Home Blogs A formal response to our rabble rousing from Senator Carr’s office

A formal response to our rabble rousing from Senator Carr’s office


Following our recent series of articles on innovation in Australia (our Australia Day series) and namely my post Would you like to be CEO of Commercialisation Australia?, I recently received the following note from the Office of Senator Kim Carr, Australia’s Innovation Minister, featuring some clarifications and updates. With permission, we have republished the note below.

Commercialisation Australia CEO appointment process

The position of Chief Executive Officer was advertised nationally in the following publications:

  • Australian Public Service Gazette on Thursday, 10 December 2009
  • Australian Financial Review on Friday, 11 December 2009
  • The Australian on Saturday, 12 December 2009
  • DIISR website 9 December 2009 to 8 January 2010.

Applications closed on 8 January 2010 and 51 applications were received. The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is currently finalising the selection process.

Commercialisation Australia Board Composition and Appointment Process

On 21 October 2009, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research issued a media release announcing details of Commercialisation Australia’s funding elements and calling for nominations to the Commercialisation Australia board.

This was also advertised in the national press and on the department’s website. Nominees were invited to submit an expression of interest and their CV.

Nominations closed on 3 November 2009, and a total 234 expressions of interest were received.

On 9 February 2009 the Minister announced the membership of the board. The six members were chosen for their extensive skills, experience, knowledge and grasp of Commercialisation Australia’s goals.

Three of the six board members are women.

Three are from NSW, two from Victoria and one (the chair) is from Queensland. This reflects the general geographical spread of the expressions of interest received.

Members bring a breadth of commercialisation experience and industry knowledge to the board:

  • The biotechnology and pharmaceuticals industries are well represented. Dr Susan Pond is the chairman and managing director of Johnson and Johnson Research Pty Ltd. Dr Pond has a distinguished medical and research career.
  • The board’s chair, Dr Laurie Hammond has a background in ICT and is actively involved in investing in new ideas and technology through his incubator and investment companies.
  • Bruce Whan has a background in engineering and technology innovation and is currently the director of Swinburne Knowledge and the chair of INNOVIC.
  • Ms Jan Bingley has a finance and accounting background and has strong experience in research commercialisation as the head of CSIRO’s Commercialisation and Equity Portfolio.
  • Dr Katherine Woodthorpe is highly experienced in the venture capital industry and is the chief executive of AVCAL.
  • Mr Nixon Apple has 25 years’ experience in investment, manufacturing and innovation through his membership of various boards, including those of Austrade (to which he was reappointed by both Coalition and Labor governments), AusIndustry, the Develop Australia Fund, the Superannuation Trust of Australia and Australian Super.

Functions of the Board

Board members will review funding applications, provide advice to the department, and monitor the progress and efficiency of the Commercialisation Australia program.

The board will meet for the first time on 4 March 2010 to asses applications and as required thereafter.

The COMET Program

Funding for the COMET program is due to end on 30 June 2011 in accordance with provisions put in place by the previous Government.

Applications for assistance under the COMET program closed on 1 January 2010.

People seeking COMET-type support are now be able to apply for the Skills and Knowledge component of Commercialisation Australia.

In addition, they will have access to increased levels of funding for proof of concept and early stage commercialisation activities as well as being partnered with case managers who will guide applicants through the commercialisation process and link them with appropriate volunteer business mentors and specialist advice.

As COMET funding continues until 30 June 2011, there will be no change to entitlements to approved businesses already receiving COMET assistance, including requests for funding variations available under Tier 2 of the program.

Applications for COMET assistance received up until 31 December 2009 and subsequently approved for support will be funded through until 30 June 2011.

This means all COMET customers will receive assistance for activities completed before 30 June 2011.

All COMET customers will continue to receive the support and guidance of a business advisor.

We encourage Anthill readers to visit www.commercialisationaustralia.gov.au or call 13 22 56 for further information.