Supporting the DIH will be an important component of Cram’s CDU role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Research Training.
Cram has been leading and shaping commercialisation activity from 1981, when he was a team member and later leader in the first wave of commercial R&D in the Applied Physics division of CSIRO (plasma processing and materials).
Between 1991 and 1996 Cram directed the Science Foundation for Physics at the University of Sydney. At that time the Foundation was investing R&D funds sourced internationally into two breakthrough solar thermal technologies: (1) evacuated glazing ultimately commercialised as “Pilkington Spacia” by Dick Collins, and (2) solar thermal electricity generation commercialised by David Mills through Ausra Pty Ltd.
While Deputy Vice-Chancellor at ANU (2004-2012) Cram had executive responsibility for commercialisation, including key roles in the business development arm ANU Enterprise Pty Ltd, and in establishing the VCLP now known as ANU Connect Ventures Pty Ltd. Cram initiated opportunity identification processes that revealed and developed a number of ANU commercial opportunities in biotechnology, natural sciences and service sectors. These include DigitalCore Pty Ltd, an Australian start-up which merged with the Norwegian firm Numerical Rocks AS to form Canberra-based Lithicon AS. Lithicon was the subject of a $A76M trade sale to US firm FEI in 2014.
Between 2004 and 2010 Cram served as the ANU-appointed Director of ATP Innovations (ATPi), one of Australia’s largest and most successful Incubators. ATPi was, and remains, closely connected into international innovation ecosystems. Cram exploited these connections to help the early years of the vibrant innovation ecosystem that now exists in the Canberra/ACT region.
During the years that Cram was Director of the Science Foundation at Sydney University, the Foundation raised over $3M of philanthropic funding, including the seed funding that lead to the success of the Julius Sumner Fellow and science media star, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.
As the responsible executive at ANU, Cram encouraged and sponsored the first ACT business planning competitions that have now become the highly visible and successful InnovationACT program. This initiative involved extensive collaboration with government, R&D institutions, Angel investors and institutional investors.
Cram was the responsible ANU officer for operationalising ANU Connect Pty Ltd, a $20M VCLP established in 2005 by ANU, MTAA and the ACT government. He was ANU’s Alternate Director of ANU Connect between 2007 and 2012. He was actively involved in investment and co-investment decisions for several ANU Connect Ventures seed, start-up and early-stage investments during these years.