Innovation Connections

Provides small and medium sized businesses with access to expert technology advice to address technology and knowledge gaps, and collaborate with the research sector in developing new ideas with commercial potential. Support includes up to $50,000 in matched funding to work on collaborative projects.

  • Status: Open
  • Delivered by: AusIndustry


This free service is provided by an expert Innovation Facilitator, who works alongside the business to:

  • find solutions to their IT needs
  • identify new technology, knowledge and expertise
  • provide pathways to engage and collaborate with the research sector, including direct access to a researcher through a matched-funding grant.

Innovation Connections Facilitation

Provides your business with an Innovation Facilitator to help you to:

  • identify knowledge gaps
  • identify opportunities to work with research organisations to test and develop new ideas
  • connect to other business assistance packages
  • find the expertise to support your business.

Innovation Facilitators will also provide a report with possible solutions to your problems and referrals to other research and industry programmes.

Read how our customers are using Innovation Connections to grow their business.

Innovation Connections Grant

If you choose to implement the suggestions in the report and would like to work with a research organisation, you can apply for an Innovation Connections Grant.

Read about the research collaboration projects Innovation Connections is supporting.

What support or funding is available?

A national team of highly-skilled Innovation Facilitators can provide you with a comprehensive Facilitation service.

To help you progress your research project, you may apply for an Innovation Connections Grant up to the value of $50,000. The grant will reimburse you 50% of the total project costs. You can only claim the grant once you complete the project and pay all project costs.

Who can apply?

A business must be:

  • a for-profit company incorporated and operating in Australia
  • non tax-exempt
  • registered for GST
  • a company with trading activities that are the majority of its overall activities.

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)
  • listed on the current Workplace Gender Equality Agency list of non-compliant organisations.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Innovation Connections Facilitation

Your business must:

  • be solvent
  • 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.
  • be operating in Australia and have filed Business Activity Statements showing ongoing trading in at least three successive years.
  • not have received an Innovation Connections Facilitation before.
  • not be named by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an organisation that has not complied with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth).
  • 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 and 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.

Innovation Connections Grant

A grant is available to help fund projects that stem from the report.

Projects must be in collaboration with a Publicly Funded Research Organisation (PFRO) in order to receive grant funding. The project should develop a new idea with commercial potential. Your Innovation Facilitator will suggest which of the three grants available will suit your business needs:

  • placing a researcher in the business (up to a maximum of $50,000)
  • placing a researcher from the business into a PFRO (up to a maximum of $50,000)
  • employing a graduate or post-graduate in the business (up to a maximum of $30,000).

You 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.

More information about the eligibility criteria is available in the Customer information guide.

How do I apply?

Lodge your application for an Innovations Connections Facilitation at any time through the I’m ready to apply tab.

Lodge your application for an Innovations Connections Grant through the I’m ready to apply tab.

Each application must be completed by an authorised representative of your business, such as:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Director
  • Chair of the Board
  • President
  • Authorised manager.

How will I know if I am successful?

Innovation Connections Facilitation

We will notify you within ten working days of submitting a complete application.

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

If you are not successful we will explain why and may refer you to other services.

Innovation Connections Grant

We will notify you within 15 working days of submitting a complete application.

If successful, we will provide you with instructions and supporting documents. You must enter into a contract with the PFRO you have chosen within 30 days. The business or the PFRO must then enter into a contract with the Commonwealth within 14 days.

If you are not successful we will explain why and may refer you to other services.

How will payments be made?

Grant funds are paid when all project activities are completed and all project costs have been paid. You must make a claim for reimbursement of the agreed amount within 30 days of the end of the project.

Payment is made by direct credit into a nominated bank account.

Key documents

Quick Guides

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