Innovation Connections

At a glance

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Provides businesses with access to a highly skilled facilitator, for the purpose of reviewing the business’ research needs. If required, the facilitator will connect the business to expertise within the research sector and help to define a project scope. Up to $50,000 in matched funding support is available to the business, should it choose to fund the project with the recommendation of the facilitator.

Who can apply:

At a minimum, you must:

  • be a for-profit, non-tax exempt company who is registered for GST and operating in Australia for at least three consecutive years
  • have an annual turnover or operating expenditure between $1.5 million ($750,000 for remote Australia and Northern Australia) and $100 million
  • meet our Growth Sector eligibility criteria.

Other eligibility requirements apply.

Deadline to apply:

Innovation Connections Facilitation applications may be made at any time.

Innovation Connections Grant applications must be made within 12 months of receiving an Innovation Facilitation Report.

Contact information:

13 28 46

business.gov.au/contact

Apply

Overview

Innovation Connections assists businesses to understand their research needs, connect with the research sector and fund collaborative research projects. Read our customer stories to find out how our customers are using Innovation Connections to grow their business.

The Innovation Connections Facilitation service is free and includes access to a highly skilled facilitator. At the completion of your Innovation Connections Facilitation, and at the recommendation of your facilitator, you may subsequently apply for an Innovation Connections Grant.

Innovation Connections Facilitation

An Innovation Facilitator will work with your business to understand your research needs. This might include:

  • discussing strategic research opportunities into new or existing markets
  • identifying critical research areas for improving your products, processes and services
  • finding ways for your business to work with the research sector (i.e. CSIRO, universities and other publicly funded research organisations).

At the end of the engagement, you will be provided with an Innovation Facilitation Report that outlines your business’ research needs and opportunities. If a collaborative research project is recommended, the facilitator will connect your business to expertise within the research sector and help to define a project scope. You will then be able to apply for an Innovation Connections Grant to co-fund the project.

Innovation Connections Grant

Following an Innovation Connections Facilitation, you can apply for an Innovation Connections Grant to undertake a research project that addresses the recommendations made in the Innovation Facilitation Report.

Research projects must be in collaboration with a Publicly Funded Research Organisation (PFRO) and should develop a new idea with commercial potential. Your Innovation Facilitator will help you decide which of the three available grants will suit your business' needs:

  • Researcher Placement – placing a PFRO researcher in your business to work on a specific research project (up to a maximum of $50,000)
  • Business Researcher Placement – placing a researcher from your business into a PFRO to work on a specific research project (up to a maximum of $50,000)
  • Graduate Placement – employing a graduate or post-graduate with a relevant degree into your business to work on a specific research project (up to a maximum of $30,000).

Eligibility criteria

Innovation Connections Facilitation

To be eligible for an Innovation Connections Facilitation, your business must:

  • be a solvent, for-profit, non-tax exempt company that is registered for GST and incorporated and operating in Australia
  • be a company with trading activities that are the majority of its overall activities
  • have filed Business Activity Statements showing ongoing trading in at least three successive years
  • have an annual turnover or operating expenditure in the current or one of the two previous financial years:
    • between $1.5 million and $100 million or
    • between $750,000 and $100 million for applicants from remote Australia or Northern Australia
  • not have received an Innovation Connections Facilitation before
  • satisfy one of the following:
    • be operating in one or more growth sectors:
      • advanced manufacturing
      • food and agribusiness
      • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
      • mining equipment, technology and services
      • oil, gas and energy resources, or
    • provide enabling technologies or services to one or more of the growth sectors, or
    • show commitment to, and have the skills, capability, intellectual property or expertise to operate in, one of the growth sectors in the future.

You cannot apply if you are:

  • an individual
  • a partnership
  • a trust (however, an incorporated trustee that meets the trading activity requirements above may apply on behalf of a trust)
  • a Commonwealth, State or Local Government agency or body (including government business enterprises)
  • named by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an organisation that has not complied with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth).

Innovation Connections Grant

To be eligible for an Innovation Connections Grant, your business must:

  • have received an Innovation Facilitation Report
  • apply within 12 months of receiving the report
  • be able to fund the total project costs, as the grant is paid after completion of the project
  • not use in-kind contributions or funds from other government grants or programmes to cover the project costs
  • not have received a grant in the last five years, unless a supplementary grant is permitted by the Programme Guidelines.

For more information on eligibility criteria please refer to the Customer information guide.

How to apply

Innovation Connections Facilitation

Each application must be completed by an authorised representative of your business, such as the Chief Executive Officer or an authorised manager. You may contact an Innovation Facilitator in your state before applying, to find out if our service is right for you or for assistance with applying.

Apply for an Innovation Connections Facilitation

Innovation Connections Grant

To apply for an Innovation Connections Grant, you must have received an Innovation Facilitation Report within the last 12 months.

Apply for an Innovation Connections Grant

If your application is successful

Innovation Connections Facilitation

We will notify you of the outcome of your application within 10 working days from when you submit a complete application.

If you are successful, an Innovation Facilitator will contact you to arrange a time to start the facilitation service.

If you are unsuccessful, we will explain why and may refer you to other services.

Innovation Connections Grant

We will notify you of the outcome of your application within 15 working days from when you submit a complete application.

If you are successful, an Innovation Facilitator will work with you to complete required documentation including contracts.

If you are unsuccessful, we will explain why and may refer you to other services.

Key documents

  • Customer information guide
  • Grant agreement
  • Factsheet
  • Project contract template

Grant recipients

A full list of executed Innovation Connections Grants can be found by following the links below. These links correspond to the financial year in which the grant was executed.

Customer stories

More than 1,500 Australian small and medium sized businesses have been assisted through Innovation Connections. These businesses come from all Australian states and territories and include chocolate makers, manufacturers and horticultural service providers. Many of these businesses have been connected with an Australian Publicly Funded Research Organisations to work collaboratively on research projects.

You can read a selection of their stories, to find out how their business has benefited from their participation in Innovation Connections.

View our Innovation Connections customer experiences video series.

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