Curtin Venture Studio

The $18.6m Curtin Venture Studio is the first venture studio developed by an Australian university to provide researchers and founders with access to infrastructure and human resources to fast track the building of ‘protoventures’, successful enterprises based on demand driven research. Through the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer, the initial pilot of the venture studio will focus on resources and critical minerals sector related research projects.

Trailblazer Protoventures

A protoventure is a pre-company structure designed to transition a research team from building a technically focused research project to developing a beta version of a product or service. Protoventures mature to become full ventures once their product or service is validated through material sales and/or independent commercial investment.

The first Trailblazer funded protoventures to be supported by the Curtin Venture Studio are as follows:

  • DARC

    DARC are developing semi and fully automated solutions to drill control and drilling fluid management which will eliminate hazardous jobs, increase drilling efficiency, and minimise environmental impacts.


    RapidGraphite is pioneering a new method to produce synthetic graphite to both meet the demand for this critical mineral globally and develop Australia’s sovereign capabilities in synthetic graphite production essential for lithium-ion batteries and other technologies needed for our decarbonised future.


    Researchers from Curtin’s WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering have developed 3D-printed structured packing technology that offers cleaner and more efficient gas separation and chemical processing for industries such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and carbon capture.

  • Nepternal Hydrogen

    A novel method of producing green hydrogen directly from untreated sources of water. This could play a key role for energy storage, fuel and drinking water for remote communities across Australia.

    How does it work?

    The Curtin Venture Studio provides teams with access to capital, talent, market expertise, capability building, mentorship, as well as infrastructure and equipment to establish ‘protoventures‘, a pre-company structure designed to transition a research team from building a technically focused research project to developing a beta version of a product or service. Specifically, teams can expect to access:


    A $10m seed fund with investment from Trailblazer Industry Partners including up to $1 million per annum from Woodside Energy.

    Market Expertise

    Resources and critical minerals specific partners and customers provide business expertise and feedback on prototypes as well as investors willing to engage at the protoventure stage.


    A pool of post doctorate, MBA, and HDR students along with shared advisory boards with deep business and research expertise in the resources and critical minerals sectors.


    Capability building and mentorship opportunities such as the National Energy Transition Accelerator, Curtin Accelerate, and Curtin Ignition with support from Venture Scouts and Venture Builders.

    Infrastructure and Equipment

    Access to resources and critical minerals facilities such as the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre, Curtin University’s Makerspace, and the John De Laeter Centre, to enable prototyping and pilot trialling.

    Venture Scouts are engaged to identify and support the onboarding of new protoventures, working with the research teams to accurately assess their potential to transition to a full venture. Venture Builders are then provided to the team to provide specific business expertise and advice on product development, regulatory frameworks, IP, finance, marketing, and strategy to support the teams transition to full venture formation. Finally, once a protoventure’s potential and transition to full venture has been established, members of the Curtin C-Suite, a pool of talented senior executives, are embedded within the protoventures as it becomes established as a full venture and enters the market.

    Get Involved

    The Trailblazer team are currently recruiting Venture Scouts, Venture Builders, and new members of the C-Suite to support our exciting protoventure teams. Join us as we develop the next generation of exciting research-backed innovative companies. 

    A collaborative partnership between

    Curtin University

    The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education through the Trailblazer Universities Program.

    The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Trailblazer acknowledges all First Nations people of the ancestral lands on which we operate. We pay our respects to all First Nations people, and to Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise their deep knowledge and their cultural, spiritual and educational practices, and aspire to learn and teach in partnership with them. We are committed to working in partnership with all Custodians and Owners to strengthen and embed First Nations’ voices and perspectives in our decision-making, now and into the future.

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