Improving End-User Engagement to Deliver Research Excellence: Insights into the CSIRO’s ON Program

Researchers are increasingly being challenged to demonstrate the real-world impact of their science and technology. The biggest enabler of this impact is the mindset of researchers themselves – their ability to think, act and communicate about their science in a way that their end user can understand and adopt.

David Burt, co-founder of the CSIRO’s ‘ON Program’ has spent the last three years helping researchers all over Australia discover how to adopt the entrepreneurial mindset necessary to discover their pathway to impact. This method is the core of the ON Program – Australia’s only deep-technology accelerator designed to help researchers take their value from the lab into the world.

Ahead of the 3rd Annual Research Innovation Summit 2018, David explores how the ON Program method is relevant for both researchers as well as people supporting commercialisation and technology transfer.

Background Factors Influencing Change in the Australian Research Sector 

Developing a commercial mindset to ensure the success of research projects has long been a focus for the Australian Higher Education sector.

This was further reinforced in 2015 when the Australian Government launched its National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). NISA has led to the introduction of an Impact and Engagement Assessment measure that examines how universities are translating their research into economic, social and other benefits and encourage greater collaboration between universities, industries and other end-users of research.

One of the key components of NISA was the Commonwealth Government signalling a desire for publically funded Australian researchers to increase the translation of their research into social, economic and environmental outcomes through greater collaboration with industry.

In 2017, The Australian Research Council (ARC) released the Engagement and Impact Pilot Report, which David says, outlines the areas Universities need to focus on in order to demonstrate their collaboration when it comes to research innovation.

“The results of the ARC’s Pilot report made for interesting reading, it measured engagement between researchers and the end-users of research primarily through the flow of money, like research income and revenue from IP commercialisation. While the first hurdle for Universities is their ability to efficiently and reliably produce the requested data, the bigger challenge is how each University is going to improve their results on these measures. I don’t see enough focus on how they are going to support and reward the change in researcher mindset necessary to improve their performance on these end-user engagement measures,” David says.

So why should research institutions and universities want to perform well on these measures?

According to David, results measuring end-user engagement are going to increasingly determine the block funding grants they receive.

“I believe that the University sector in Australia will increasingly be required to transition from a world in which the untied Government funding they receive is determined solely by their scientific excellence, towards a world where research funding is based on both scientific excellence, as well as objective measures of engagement between researchers and the end user,” he says.

Find out more and read the full article with David here



Join David at the 3rd Annual Research Innovation Summit 2018 where he will be  running a postconference workshop exploring how to:

  • Help researchers adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and more effectively communicate with industry and community stakeholders
  • Analyse how to help researchers get their commercialisation deals across the line with a case study from CSIRO’s ON Program

For more information download the agenda here or visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email


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