Swinburne University of Technology: Swinburne launches prototyping program for aerospace startups

Swinburne’s Aerostructures Innovation Research (AIR) Hub is launching AIR Pass to address a critical gap in prototype funding in Australia, especially for the aerospace industry which requires more upfront capital to meet performance and regulatory standards.

AIR Pass will give startups and small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) up to $150,000 of prototype support and up to $50,000 of “focus-on-mission” funding to prototype and prove their solution to their customers, helping them to launch into the international aerospace market.

Director of Swinburne’s AIR Hub, Dr Adriano Di Pietro, says the aerospace industry will go through massive change over the next 10 years.

“Startups, SMEs and venture-backed entities will work together on aerospace challenges where only large multi-nationals used to have a chance, but they need support to do so,” says Dr Di Pietro.

“We’re channeling Australia’s unmatched startup culture, giving applicants with strong and sustainable growth ambitions and a passion for advancing the aviation and aerospace entrepreneurial ecosystem $150,000 of support over six months to design, build, construct, test, analyse and demonstrate prototypes to their customers.

“We’re looking for startups and SMEs who can be the world’s best at the thing that they do; think efficient electric motors or low power radar tech.”

AIR Pass is an aerospace startup’s ticket to success
Australia’s aerospace industry is essential for supporting our connectedness as a vast island nation. Startups are already working on new, fast-scaling technology such as uncrewed air systems (UAS) and advanced air mobility (AAM).

AIR Pass will help accelerate this growth. The program is designed for early-stage ventures looking for prototyping and technology support for a demo, trial or pilot program with their first or next customer.

Dr Di Pietro says, “Australia’s tech-rich future economy needs a startup eco-system to be nurtured and matured to help create the next generation expert tech jobs and growth. AIR Pass is taking the lead for aerospace, right when startups and SMEs need it most—as they face real costs to prove the concept and create a working prototype.”

Industry and research in partnership
Swinburne provides access to some of the most highly motivated technical entrepreneurs and specialists in Australia and a support ecosystem that has proven successful. Boeing, Quickstep and other major players and SMEs are already working with AIR Hub on aerospace and aviation projects.

“We hope AIR Pass will discover the next group of startups and SMEs to become champions of the industry, launching the moonshots and missions for further growth and technology benefits for our society and planet,” says Dr Di Pietro.