The Australian–French Entrepreneurship Challenge


The call for applications for the Australian-French Entrepreneurship Challenge 2018 is now closed.

Please note that due to the low number of applications received for this call, the 2018 Australian–French Entrepreneurship Challenge has had to be cancelled. It is however expected that a Challenge will be organised in 2019. Details will be posted on the website in 2019.


Today’s PhD students are the drivers of tomorrow’s Australian innovation economy

Australian PhD students are future innovators, using their ideas to drive successful entrepreneurial endeavours. Teaching today’s PhD student’s key entrepreneurial skills will equip tomorrow’s business leaders with the ability and skills to boost the global competitiveness of Australian research and industry.

The Australian–French Entrepreneurship Challenge is designed to bring together creative minded PhD candidates to brainstorm innovative ideas right through from concept to creation – all in the space of 24 hours.

The challenge will benefit researchers, academic institutions and the economy

Participating PhD students will gain an invaluable opportunity to broaden their research and entrepreneurial skill set while establishing interdisciplinary and international relationships. With access to expert advice and seasoned mentors throughout the challenge, participants will gain skills enabling them to seize diverse opportunities throughout their career.

This national competition will provide participating institutions the opportunity to build networks with French businesses and institutions. It will also contribute to Australia’s innovation and economic goals in fostering international industry-research linkages.

Participants will compete for the opportunity to travel to France for a first-hand experience of the country’s innovation system.

Teams of PhD students will compete to design an innovative and profitable start-up concept

In the first few hours of the event participants will attend workshops, training activities and access expert mentoring to provide them with the skills to go through the process. Prior to the event the teams are selected, and the members of each team and participants will be advised of the composition of their team on the day. Working in these teams, participants will be challenged to design a start-up in a relevant field. Over a continuous 24-hour period following the training, each team will require resilience, creativity, teamwork and a willingness to take risks in order to come up with a pitch to win over a grand jury of expert entrepreneurs, scientists and managers.


Up to 70 contestants will be invited to participate in this challenge. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee.

All costs relating to flights, accommodation and meals outside of the event will be the applicant’s responsibility.


The Australian Academy of Science did not receive the minimum number of applications required for the 2018 Australian-French PhD Entrepreneurship Challenge to go ahead. As a result, organisers took the decision to cancel this event for 2018.

The French Embassy intends to organise the next edition of the Australian French entrepreneurship challenge in 2019 in Australia (exact location to be defined).


The candidate must:

  • be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident, living in Australia at the time of submitting the application (if you were not born in Australia, please provide proof of Australian citizenship or Australian permanent residency)
  • be enrolled as a PhD candidate in an eligible Australian university or research organisation
  • hold a passport valid until at least 30 June 2019.

Eligible institutions include higher education institutions, publicly funded research agencies, private not-for-profit research organisations and firms that pursue research.

Fields of research

Candidates should be research active in one of the following fields:

  • the natural sciences, including earth, chemical or biological sciences
  • technology
  • engineering
  • medicine
  • the humanities
  • social sciences.

Materials to be submitted (in the following order)

  1. Application form
  2. Proof of Australian citizenship or Australian permanent residency for applicants not born in Australia
  3. Curriculum vitae or track record
  4. Letter of support
  5. Copy of passport valid until at least 30 June 2019

Applications are considered carefully by a selection panel with diverse expertise put together by the French Embassy. The decisions of the panel are based on the assessed competitiveness of the proposal. The Embassy is not able to enter into discussion or correspondence regarding the reasons why an application is successful or not.

For further information contact

Australian Academy of Science

International Programs
Australian Academy of Science
GPO Box 783
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6201 9412


French Embassy in Australia

Science and Technology section: Anne Rouault & Nathalie Simenel-Amar


© 2020 Australian Academy of Science