Fund backer nur­tures our own

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Research Round - Up -

THE key fi­nan­cial backer of the Tran­sTas­man Col­lab­o­ra­tion Fund — and in­deed the main in­vestor in Uniseed and Mur­doch Univer­sity’s com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion arm — is the West Aus­tralian su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund Westscheme, which has about $ 3 bil­lion un­der man­age­ment.

South Aus­tralian fi­nan­cial ser­vices group Statewide is the other backer.

Westscheme chief ex­ec­u­tive Howard Rosario says that af­ter six years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in­vest­ing in high- end re­search and de­vel­op­ment, his com­pany ‘‘ be­lieves in the ex­cel­lence of Aus­tralian in­no­va­tion and re­search’’.

For Westscheme, sup­port­ing the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of Aus­tralian re­search means that projects can be nur­tured in an in­vest­ment frame­work that, while be­ing dis­ci­plined, is ap­pro­pri­ately sen­si­tive to the as­pi­ra­tions of re­searchers.’’

Westscheme has com­mit­ted $ 54.2 mil­lion to the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of Aus­tralian re­search and has a fur­ther $ 190 mil­lion in funds ear­marked for se­lected R & D in­vest­ments, he says.

Westscheme took a port­fo­lio con­struc­tion approach to di­ver­sify sources of risk and re­turn, and its ad­her­ence to process has to date pro­duced pos­i­tive re­turns for its mem­bers.

Rosario says many po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial back­ers aren’t in­ter­ested in com­mer­cial­is­ing R & D ‘‘ be­cause the J- curve ef­fect is very strong; it’s high risk be­cause you have to in­vest money for a long time be­fore you see a re­turn’’.

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