Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants

At a glance


Provides eligible SMEs with matched funding grants of up to $1 million to invest in projects that build capabilities aligned with Defence’s Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities.

Who can apply:

At a minimum, you must:

  • be an SME with less than 200 employees as defined in appendix A of the grant opportunity guidelines
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)

and be one of the following entities:

  • a company, incorporated in Australia
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust

Other eligibility requirements and merit criteria apply.

Deadline to apply:

Applications can be made at any time.

Contact information:

13 28 46



The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants will help Australian SMEs to invest in projects that build capabilities aligned with Defence's stated Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities.

The Defence Industrial Capability Plan identifies an initial list of Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities. Defence will review the priorities periodically and updates will be published on Defence's website. A fact sheet on the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities is available:

  • Up to $17 million is available each year from 2018-19 to 2021-22.
  • The minimum grant amount is $50,000.
  • The maximum grant amount is $1,000,000.
  • The grant amount will be up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs.
  • The maximum grant period is two years and six months.

Project activities can include:

  • buying, leasing, constructing, installing or commissioning of capital equipment including specialist software to enhance cyber security
  • design, engineering and commissioning activities
  • workforce training and accreditations.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must

  • be an SME with less than 200 employees
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)

and be one of the following entities:

  • a company, incorporated in Australia
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust

In order to be eligible you must

  • provide evidence from your board (or chief executive officer or equivalent if there is no board) that the project is supported, and that you can complete the project and meet the costs of the project not covered by grant funding
  • provide an external Accountant Declaration that confirms you can fund your share of the project costs. You must use the Accountant Declaration form available at the bottom of this page.

Grant funding is capped at $3 million in a three-year period per recipient as identified by ABN.

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • an individual
  • a partnership
  • a trust (however, an incorporated trustee may apply on behalf of a trust)
  • a Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government body (including government business enterprises).

Merit criteria

To be competitive you must score highly against all of the merit criteria.

  • Merit criterion 1 - The extent to which your project will help you contribute to Defence's Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (50 points)
  • Merit criterion 2 - Your capacity, capability and resources to deliver the project (30 points)
  • Merit criterion 3 - The impact of grant funding (20 points)

How to apply

You should read the grant opportunity guidelines and sample grant agreement before you apply. The guidelines provide detailed information on the grant opportunity, including granting activity objectives; all eligibility and merit criteria; the assessment processes; reporting and acquittal requirements; and a description of review mechanisms.

To apply, you must submit your application through the online portal. You will need to set up an account when you first log into the portal. The portal allows you to apply for and manage a grant or service in a secure online environment.


For assistance with the application form contact us.

How we assess applications

We assess your application against the eligibility criteria and then against the merit criteria. Only eligible applications will proceed to the merit assessment stage. Applications are assessed in batches every 8-12 weeks.

We refer eligible applications to an assessment panel comprised of representatives from the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) and the Department of Defence. The panel may also seek additional advice from independent technical experts.

The panel will assess your application against the merit criteria and compare it to other eligible applications before recommending which projects to fund.

To recommend an application for funding it must score highly against each merit criterion. While we assess all applications against the same merit criteria, we will score your application relative to the project size, complexity and grant amount requested. The evidence you provide to support your application should be proportional to the size and complexity of your project.

The program delegate will make the final decision.

If your application is successful

If your application is successful, we will email you and include in the email any specific conditions attached to the grant. If you are unsuccessful, we will email you and outline the reasons that you were not successful and give you an opportunity to discuss the outcome with us.  

Successful applicants must enter into a grant agreement with the Commonwealth. The grant agreement will specify the reporting requirements, payment schedule and milestones necessary to receive payments.

Successful applicants are also required to apply for membership (or be an existing member) of the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) as part of the grant agreement. The Defence Industry Security Program is a risk mitigation and assurance program maintaining the integrity of Australia's Defence capability by ensuring Defence Industry maintains its security responsibilities and safeguards the supply chain.

We will make an initial payment on execution of the grant agreement. We will make subsequent payments as you achieve milestones in arrears, based on your actual eligible expenditure. Payments are subject to satisfactory progress on the project.

We set aside 10 per cent of the total grant funding for the final payment. We will pay this when you submit a satisfactory end of project report demonstrating you have completed outstanding obligations for the project.

Payments will be made by direct credit into a nominated bank account.

Key documents

  • Grant Opportunity guidelines
  • Factsheet
  • Sample application form
  • Sample grant agreement - simple
  • Accountants declaration template

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