Commercialisation of Biological Science

Translating Australian R&D from academia to industry

Event details

Thursday 6 May 2021

Online: 6:30-7:30pm AEST
In-person: 6:00-8:30pm AEST

In-person event location

Graduate House Melbourne
220 Leicester Street
Carlton VIC 3053


In-person dinner $30.50
To watch online is free

Presented by the ATSE Victorian Division

Thursday 6 May 2021

6.00 – 8.30pm AEST

Professor Sally Gras FTSE
Robert Klupacs FTSE

ATSE Fellows and friends were invited to attend an event featuring Professor Sally Gras FTSE and Robert Klupacs FTSE speaking on the topics of food and pharmaceutical production and translating Australian R&D from academia to industry.

Food and pharmaceutical production: where biology meets engineering
Professor Sally Gras FTSE

Food and biopharmaceutical manufacturing are essential to Australia’s health and prosperity but these industries face technical challenges. Engineers play a central role, applying new technologies and introducing innovation. The intersection between engineering and biology also provides opportunity to translate science and create impact.

Translating Australian R&D from academia to industry: the key issues and lessons learnt over 35 years
Presented by Robert Klupacs FTSE

Australia has been known throughout the world as a country that punches above its weight for discovery and invention particularly in the areas of biotech and medtech but still remains one of the weaker nations in the world for translating invention into commercial outcomes. The opportunity for Australia economically, if it could improve in this regard, is enormous. The talk will focus on the possible causes for this poor translation as well as highlight, based on some recent examples, possible methods and approaches to achieve significant improvement.


Professor Sally Gras FTSE

Director, ARC Dairy Innovation Hub, University of Melbourne

Professor Sally Gras is Director of the Dairy Innovation Hub, which brings together four of Australia’s leading dairy manufacturers in a three-year research program funded by Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd. Located at the University of Melbourne, the Hub addresses challenges identified as constraints to business growth and productivity in the dairy manufacturing sector.  Sally also has strong links to the pharmaceutical and biotech sector and works with manufacturers to introduce innovative processes and technologies that can advance manufacturing.

Sally Gras is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne.  She leads the Food and Agribusiness Program for the University’s Melbourne School of Engineering and Information Technology and is Associate Director of the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute.  Sally trained as a Chemical Engineer and Molecular Biologist and has a PhD in protein biophysics from Cambridge University.

Image of Robert Klupacs
Robert Klupacs FTSE

Chief Executive Officer, Bionics Institute

Robert is scientifically trained in pharmacology and biochemistry and has been the CEO of the Bionics Institute since 2017. He has over 35 years experience in translating and commercialising early stage intellectual property into commercial product or investable corporate vehicles, having founded or been involved with the founding of 33 start-ups.

He is an Australian registered patent attorney who has had a wide and successful career in Australia and Asia within both private and publicly traded companies as well as the academic arena. Robert is especially regarded for his ability to bridge cultural divides and knowledge gaps between academics, corporations and the general investment community, and is internationally recognised for his ability to lead start-up organisations to mature well focused companies.

Robert is heavily involved in raising funds for autism research through his role as pro-bono Non-executive Chairman of the registered charity Bioautism Limited.

Recording of the event

ATSE apologies for the quality of the sound in this recording.