Frequently asked questions
The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship
- What is MedTech Actuator?
MedTech Actuator is a MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech startup accelerator that operates programs across Australia and Asia-Pacific.
The MedTech Actuator was founded in 2018 by serial MedTech entrepreneurs and health policy experts who understood that MedTech, HealthTech and BioTech ventures require a bespoke acceleration model.
We connect the region’s broad ecosystem to empower founders to build the next wave of global MedTech, HealthTech and BioTech success stories.
MedTech Actuator programs are aimed towards startups at different stages – from idea to growth. Programs include the MedTech Actuator Accelerator; MedTech Actuator Origin and the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship, as well as Singapore-based programs like Growth and Global Navigator.
- What is the Menzies Foundation?
Menzies Foundation aspires to raise the profile and importance of ‘outstanding’ leadership by encouraging Australians to reflect on leadership, build their leadership capability and act for the greater good.
The Foundation supports leadership platforms to explore, deepen understanding and codify approaches to leadership. The Foundation’s efforts to explore the dimensions of leadership from multiple perspectives supports the foundation’s strong focus on identifying the leadership qualities and attributes that are key to leading in an Australian and global context.
The Foundation’s ultimate ambition is to build a leadership movement by sharing these insights with the Australian community and contributing to the leadership discourse.
- Why should I apply for the scholarship?
The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for scientists, researchers and innovators to explore the world of entrepreneurship, research commercialisation and MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech startups.
In other words, if you’re interested in learning more about the areas above then this Scholarship program is the perfect fit for you.
The program exposes awardees to the ecosystem through intensive learning, networking, mentorship and coaching so that you learn about the journey behind translating research into a healthcare startup before embarking on it.
Recipients embark on a four-month scholarship, where they gain knowledge from leading industry experts, work alongside Australia’s emerging healthcare entrepreneurs and receive mentorship from MedTech Actuator.
Across an industry-led intensive sprint and mentorship, scholarship recipients will gain an extensive overview of entrepreneurship, the startup ecosystem and the commercialisation process as well as a one-off, $1,000 stipend to aid the commercialisation journey. Topics covered include pathways to market, business models, navigating Australia’s healthcare ecosystem, idea validation, intellectual property, pitching, professional development, and funding for early-stage ventures.
- How do I apply for a scholarship?
The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship applications are open from Friday, June 3 to Friday, July 15.
You can submit your application here.
- What are the key activities of the scholarship?
Over the four-month scholarship, awardees will take part in the following activities:
- Group learning (online) – from September 1
Join MedTech Actuator online for a half-day bootcamp, where you’ll get a brief overview of what it takes to build a healthcare venture. Following this session, you’ll receive access to the Scholarship basecamp with online learning materials to refer to throughout the program.
- Fortnightly coaching (online) – from September 5
Following the bootcamp, you’ll meet with Program Coordinator, Makenzie Thomas, for fortnightly coaching and discussions about the topics covered in the Scholarship basecamp. Plus, general career tips, networking with other Scholars, and special visits from industry experts!
- Intensive sprint (Melbourne) – October 25 – 27
The Scholarship program culminates in October when you join MedTech Actuator Origin for a three-day intensive sprint in Melbourne. Over three days, you’ll be introduced to topics such as pathways to market, business models, navigating Australia’s healthcare ecosystem, idea validation, intellectual property, pitching, professional development, and funding for early-stage ventures.
- Menzies Scholarship Breakfast – October 26
Join MedTech Actuator CEO, Dr Buzz Palmer, and Menzies Foundation CEO, Liz Gillies, for the Scholarship Breakfast to meet the cohort and chat about innovation in human health, your projects and your career goals.
- Group learning (online) – from September 1
- What are the time commitments of the scholarship?
Scholarship recipients are expected to allocate around 2 hours per week to the program and its learning materials for the duration of the program.
Attendance at the following events is expected of Scholarship recipients:
- Fortnightly coaching (online) – from September 5 to October 31 at 4:30 – 5:00 pm
- Intensive sprint (Melbourne*) – October 25 – 27 from 9:00 – 5:30 pm
- Scholarship breakfast (Melbourne*) – October 26 from 8:00 – 9:30 am
*Please note, in order to provide equal access to MedTech Actuator programs, travel allowance stipends are available on request for individuals who reside outside of Victoria. Travel allowances are up to $500 per person.
- What are the eligibility criteria for the scholarship?
Applicants to the Scholarship program must:
- Be completing a post-graduate degree at an Australian university or research institution up to, and inclusive of, a Post-Doctorat. Similar engagement at an industry level in Australia is accepted;
- Have a research project in human health;
- Be highly motivated to learn about commercialisation and research translation, as well as Australia’s health, medical, and biotechnology startup ecosystem; and,
- Be able to attend all program activities scheduled on the key dates listed above.
At the MedTech Actuator, we’re for innovators. This means creating opportunities for innovators from all corners of the system, and from multiple backgrounds and contexts. MedTech Actuator encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply. Please reach out to the team if you have any questions about your eligibility.
- I am currently studying/working/between degrees. Can I still apply for the scholarship?
Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria listed above we encourage you to apply. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please reach out to Makenzie Thomas – email@example.com
- I live/work/study overseas, can I still apply for the scholarship?
To be eligible for a scholarship, recipients must be completing a postgraduate degree at an Australian university or research institution up to, and inclusive of, a Post-Doctorat. Similar engagement at an industry level in Australia is accepted.
If you are currently overseas, e.g. for work or study, but fit within the eligibility above and can attend the in-person components of the program in Melbourne on October 25 to 27, then, yes, we would encourage you to apply.
If you have any questions about your eligibility, please reach out to Makenzie Thomas – firstname.lastname@example.org
- What are the application questions?
The application includes 20 questions and you will be required to attach a video. It is recommended that you complete the application from a computer.
- When will I know if my application has been successful?
Applications close on July 15 and successful candidates will be invited to an online interview on August 10. Successful recipients will be notified on August 12.
- Can I engage in other MedTech Actuator programs whilst undertaking the scholarship?
Yes! It is possible for Scholarship recipients to also apply for and take part in MedTech Actuator Origin at the same time. For more information about MedTech Actuator Origin, please see the program information here.
- How much is the scholarship stipend and how can I spend it?
Scholarship recipients will receive a one-off, $1000 stipend to be spent at their discretion. The stipend is designed to assist Scholarship recipients on their commercialisation journey and cover costs related to their research project.
- I live outside of Victoria. How should I fund my trip to Melbourne for the in-person components of the Menzies Scholarship?
In order to provide equal access to MedTech Actuator programs, travel allowance stipends are available on request for individuals who reside outside of Victoria. Travel allowances are up to $500 per person.
- I still have questions about the Scholarship. Can I speak to someone?
The MedTech Actuator Accelerator Program
- What are your investment terms and participation fees?
- We receive a 5% equity stake in your company in exchange for participation in the MedTech Actuator.
Participants in the MedTech Actuator™ are eligible for up to $200,000 investment in return for up to 20% equity through our seed fund — equating to 1% equity for every $10,000 if this is your first capital raise. For companies that have raised before with sophisticated and/or wholesale investors, MedTech Actuator could match the previous valuation.
Investment is typically split into two tranches. The first tranche of $50,000 happens at the beginning of the program while the second tranche of up to $150,000 is triggered after meeting certain predefined milestones. Investment is optional for accepted startups but we find that most participating teams choose to make use of this opportunity.
The program fee and the seed investment terms are the same for all startups.
- We don’t need funding; can we still get participate in the program?
Yes, absolutely. Investment through the MedTech Actuator™ seed fund is optional for startups participating in the program. There is no obligation to seek investment from the MedTech Actuator™ seed fund.
- Why does the MedTech Actuator™ take equity in the companies?
The 5% participation fee is what makes our 12-month ‘one of its kind’ program possible. It aligns the MedTech Actuator’s interests with your interests and incentivises us to push harder and go the extra mile for our founders – well beyond the duration of the program.
- How much can I expect to raise after demo day?
After demo day you will be raising a seed round with external investors. The size of the round differs from startup to startup and will depend on the potential that investors see in your company. Typically, MedTech Actuator™ startups raise between $500k and $1M post demo day.
The MedTech Actuator™ will be actively supporting you on your fundraising journey post demo day by helping you with fundraising strategy development, investor outreach activities, preparing you for a series A raise at the end of the 12-month program and through follow-on investment via its seed and later stage funds.
- Am I eligible?
Our program is targeted at MedTech, HealthTech, and BioTech startups at TRL 4 and above. Our specialty is deep tech with robust IP and a regulated path to market. Slick apps and user interfaces are great, but what gets us excited are radical new technologies like bionics, diagnostics, implants, instrumentation, robotics, personal preventative medicine, telemedicine, AI and VR that will create a step-change in our healthcare systems and economies.
If you are unsure about eligibility or have any other questions about our program, you can speak to a Program Manager before submitting an application.
- What is the application process?
A summary of the information you’ll need to submit can be found here apply. If your application is shortlisted, our expert panel will begin due diligence on your company, and you’ll hear from us to set up a video interview. The most promising teams will be selected to present to our Investment Advisory Board. Based on the decision of this board and Medtech Actuator’s internal review, you’ll be offered a place in the MedTech Actuator™.
- Should I reapply if I am told ‘no’?
Yes. Sometimes we say no to companies because they are too early in their journey to extract full value from the MedTech Actuator™ program. Often these companies are good candidates for our early-stage competition, the MedTech Actuator™ Origin. The MedTech Actuator™ Origin will provide you with access to industry mentors and the opportunity to refine your technology and business model. It is free to enter and provides a small cash prize to the winner to further develop their startup. If you’ve continued to develop your company and technology — either within the MedTech Actuator™ Origin or on your own — you should consider reapplying for the MedTech Actuator™.
We have set up these resources to help early-stage companies prepare their applications and learn more about the industry – make sure to check it out!
- How do you choose which companies to accept into the MedTech Actuator™?
We focus on team, market, technology, and traction.
- Team: We look for passionate, well rounded founder teams with strong skills in key areas such as technology, clinical, business and commercialisation that have a unique insight into their market and are high-integrity and inspiring leaders with a focus on execution.
- Market: We like markets within the MedTech, HealthTech and BioTech sectors that are either large but ripe for disruption or underserved or so radically new they don’t yet exist.
- Technology: Our specialty is deep tech with a regulated path to market. We look for technologies and products with the potential to create an unfair market advantage and a clear path towards strong, protectable IP.
- Traction: Ideas matter but execution makes the difference. That is why we like to see evidence of early traction or data points validating your core assumptions such as an early proof of concept and safety data, a robust need validation, or expressions of interest from lead users or customers.
- Can you describe the MedTech Actuator™ program?
The MedTech Actuator™ is designed to address the three primary startup risk factors – technology, capital access, team capability – and is divided into three phases. The first two phases (months 1–6) consist of sprints and off-sprint time. You’ll spend 3–5 days of each month in an intensive sprint with your colleagues, learning from industry experts. During non-sprint weeks you’ll be free to work on your startup full-time — implementing what you’ve learnt. You’ll access the MedTech Actuator’s network of industry mentors and work towards agreed milestones.
At the end of the 6-month mark, you may have an opportunity to present at the Showcase Gala – our annual dinner with partners and investors.
In phase 2 of the Program, founders embark on self-structured, intensive growth with full access to our industry mentors and ecosystem partners — and support of fundraising activities. An international trade mission is scheduled at the 12-month mark, for more details contact the Program manager.
- What benefits do startups get from participating in the program?
Participating in the MedTech Actuator™ will:
- de-risk your startup. The MedTech Actuator™ is designed to equip you with the skills, network, and resources you need to successfully navigate the complex life sciences commercialisation pathway. You’ll learn from industry experts and draw from our experience and knowledge so that your startup has the best chance of success. You will partner with world-leading product development companies that house engineers, designers, regulatory and scale-up manufacturing experts to radically advance your technology. We will support you in developing a tailored fundraising strategy to access our network of venture capital firms, angel investors, and corporate venture funds.
- turbocharge your startup. We’ve designed the MedTech Actuator™ for maximum speed and efficiency. Together we’ll create milestones for your startup that get you to market faster. You’ll be surrounded with all the expertise, resources, and infrastructure your health startup needs so you can focus on building your company.
- What does a typical day for a founder in the MedTech Actuator™ look like?
During sprint weeks, you’ll work on IP, building your team, product development, regulatory pathways, reimbursement strategy and your go-to-market strategy. You’ll stress test your strategies with experts and be inspired by fellow entrepreneurs and those further in their journey. Each day in sprint week is intensive by design, to give you momentum and get you that much closer to your next value inflection point.
In off-sprint weeks, you’ll work with your team members towards key milestones from wherever makes the most sense for you. You’ll work with industry mentors, apply what you’ve learnt in sprint weeks, refine your strategy and grow your company.
- What are the attendance requirements?
We have structured an intense program that meets each team where they are at. The MedTech Actuator™ requires the full-time participation of someone core to your team.
- How is the MedTech Actuator™ different to other programs?
We specialise in MedTech, HealthTech and BioTech. We understand regulatory pathways, IP and reimbursement models and have powerful relationships with advanced manufacturing companies, the biggest global medical technology corporations and life sciences focused investor groups.Read more about What makes us different
- Where should I be based to be eligible to participate in the MedTech Actuator™ and where is the program delivered?
Our sprints will be delivered in person in Melbourne and online. You should be able to attend at least 2 in-person sprints in Melbourne as well as the Demoday in February.