Boosting Funding Success for South Australia's Biomedical Sector

Pictured: Sementis CEO Leanne Hobbs with CSO Prof John Hayball 

MTPConnect's Adelaide Intermediary Program is providing experienced insights, strategy and mentoring to help progress South Australian start-up innovation along the pipeline towards clinical and commercial success.

The program, delivered in partnership with the Adelaide BioMed City and the Government of South Australia, is focused on growing South Australia's health and medical industry sector by fostering collaboration, strategically building capacity and attracting new talent and opportunity across the research, innovation and translation value chain.

“Our goal at the Adelaide Intermediary Program is to facilitate connections between researchers and industry and offer advice and support to ensure innovation success in South Australia,” said MTPConnect’s Adelaide Intermediary Program Jo Close, Director.

Last year, following expert discussions and one-on-one mentoring with MTPConnect and its Adelaide Intermediary Program, biomedical start-ups Sementis Ltd and Ferronova Pty Ltd prepared CRC-P grant applications to the federal Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) program.

In late 2022, the vaccine manufacture and cancer treatment projects were each awarded $3 million CRC-P grants and will deliver more than AU$17 million in value to SA’s biomedical sector.

“While we’ve only been in operation since February 2022, our active role as a facilitator has already supported these two successful major grants for Adelaide-based companies and we are delighted with this result,” said Ms Close.

Tapping into MTPConnect’s national reach of networks and expertise, the Adelaide Intermediary Program offered informed advice and insights on CRP-P grant criteria and eligibility by way of a roundtable event, plus engagement with experienced team members for one-on-one mentoring, development and review of applications.

Intermediaries Supporting Industry

Leanne Hobbs is CEO at Sementis, an Adelaide-based company building Australia's most technologically advanced viral vector vaccine platform. Sementis applied for CRC-P support in collaboration with the University of South Australia, DMTC Ltd and Cytiva (Australia and New Zealand) to progress technology to strengthen Australia’s sovereign vaccine manufacturing capability.

“Through the Adelaide Intermediary Program, we received non-generic and specific feedback on our previously unsuccessful CRC-P application which was then awarded a $3 million grant,” said Ms Hobbs.

“We found Jo Close and her MTPConnect colleagues to be approachable, helpful and easy to work with.”

Adelaide cancer diagnostics company Ferronova is working with Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research Ltd, Siemens Healthcare Pty Ltd, SAHMRI Ltd, the University of South Australia and The University of Sydney to develop commercial-scale manufacturing of iron-oxide nanoparticles for image-guided radiotherapy and proton cancer therapy.

CEO Stewart Bartlett says Ferronova had twice applied unsuccessfully for CRC-P grant support prior to seeking assistance from the Adelaide Intermediary program.

“The Adelaide Intermediary Program was critical in encouraging us to persevere with applying for a CRC-P grant, and in mentoring us to submit a credible and successful $3 million application,” said Mr Bartlett.

Leveraging National Connections
The Adelaide Intermediary Program leverages the capacity of MTPConnect nationally.

Dr Duncan Macinnis, MTPConnect’s Director of Stakeholder Engagement in NSW who has provided assistance to over 100 CRC-P applicants over the last four rounds, worked closely with the Adelaide Intermediary Program team in South Australia to provide expert advice and mentoring to CRC-P grant applicants during 2022.

“What’s key in a successful CRC-P application is to show how your company offers an industry-led solution for an industry-identified problem, and that’s what we help our supported applicants to identify and achieve,” said Dr Macinnis.

“Along with Sementis and Ferronova, MTPConnect provided strategic feedback to an additional five companies across Australia that were successful in the recent round 13 of CRC-P grants.”

Building Partnerships

The CRC-P program supports short-term (up to 3 years) industry-led research collaborations to develop a product, service or process that will solve problems for industry and deliver real outcomes, that benefit SMEs, and that include education and training activities.

Dr Tim O’Meara, Strategy Manager – Government and Research at Cytiva (Australia and New Zealand), says CRC-P grants plug a vital gap in the innovation pipeline.

“CRC-P grants provide funding to enable companies to take their products from pre-clinical to clinical readiness, and to the point of (or very close to) being market ready,” said Dr O’Meara.

“I strongly encourage companies to reach out to MTPConnect if they’re looking at applying to the CRC-P program – the insights they will receive offer significantly more value than just reading grant guidelines alone.”

Cytiva were partnered on three successful CRC-P projects in the most recent round 13, all of which had applied previously and then benefited from seeking advice from MTPConnect.

MTPConnect support

CRC-P Round 14 Grant Opportunity is open to applications until 2 March 2023, with outcomes announced in June 2023 and funding provided from July 2023. Matched funding of between $100,000 and $3 million is available, and grants are for up to 3 years.

If you are in South Australia, learn how to improve your odds of being successful in future CRC-P rounds, and book a one-on-one session with Director Adelaide Intermediary Program, Jo Close via

For organisations in other states looking for guidance or feedback on preparing a CRC-P grant application, please connect with MTPConnect’s Stakeholder Engagement team by email to