GRDC Innovation Program 2018

Applications are closed

Funding applications for GRDC’s $5 million Innovation Program 2018 are now closed.

The Program has two distinct components – one aimed at accelerating the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies, and the other aimed at supporting feasibility analysis of innovative business concepts.

GRDC’s Innovation Program 2018 aims to foster innovation and accelerate the commercial delivery of innovative technologies. We are committed to funding projects that have the greatest potential to deliver tangible value.

Accelerating Innovative Technologies funding round

The GRDC Innovation Program 2018 is about new ways of thinking. Innovative ideas can come from all types of industry and organisations.

Under this component of the Program, funding amounts from $40,000 upwards can be sought. While any application will be considered, priority will be given to those that address three key areas:

  • Novel engineering or chemical solutions to managing hostile soils in broad acre grains production
  • Novel solutions for managing the impact of frost on broad acre grains production
  • Novel non-chemical solutions to weed management and control in the Australian broad acre grains production

Support under the Accelerating Innovative Technologies funding round can range from help to develop a business case or proof of concept over a 3-6 month timeframe, through to longer 1-2 year project periods for activities such as pre-commercial testing or scale-up strategies.

When do applications close?

Applications under the Accelerating Innovative Technologies part of the Innovation Program 2018 close on Friday 6 April 2018.

Program applications will be assessed by GRDC via a rigorous multi-step process, conducted by teams with expertise and proven competency in the priority areas.

#GRDCInnovate

Questions about the Program

Applicants must email questions about the Accelerating Innovative Technologies funding round to the Grants Manager at innovation@grdc.com.au. We will publish answers to questions for Applicant’s information on this page. Please note the deadline for submission of questions is 5pm (Canberra time) 29 March 2018.

Questions and Answers

Q1: So we’re clear regarding “Novel non-chemical solutions to weed management and control in Australian broadacre grains production”

This means applications for projects regarding shielded sprayers is not eligible?

A1: For guidance on the application process and information required, please refer to the Innovation Program Guidelines that can be downloaded on the GRDC website. The Innovation Program Guidelines include all details required to complete the application on the Grains Investment Portal. Once you have completed the Application in the Grains Investment Portal you can choose to save as draft, and print a copy prior to submission.


Q2: Would you please advise if the portal allows one to print out an uncompleted application form for use in planning and compiling an application rather than proceeding hand-to-mouth fashion through an unknown structure of the electronic application.

A2: For guidance on the application process and information required, please refer to the Innovation Program Guidelines that can be downloaded on the GRDC website. The Innovation Program Guidelines include all details required to complete the application on the Grains Investment Portal. Once you have completed the Application in the Grains Investment Portal you can choose to save as draft, and print a copy prior to submission.


Q3: "Can I submit an application from my lead organisation even though there are collaborators from other organisations in the proposal"?

Based on the guidelines, on page 18, under item 13.2 "Joint Applications" it says that "Except in relation to consortium applications submitted in accordance with paragraph 3.5, GRDC will not consider joint Applications, or Applications with multiple Applicants".

However, It seems to be able to do so through contracting or a consortium Under item 2.2 " What can funding be used for" and Item 3 "Mandatory requirements", in particular 3.5

A3: GRDC will only consider one application for funding, however the lead organisation can identify collaborators in their submission as either part of a consortium or as subcontractors.


Q4: Can the applicant be the person employed on the project to do the work and receive salary through this scheme?

A4: No, the Applicant will be the organisation who can employs the key personnel/project leads. The organisation can then use the funding to pay for the salaries of those directly involved in the project.


Q5: The guidelines state the following criteria:

  • an Applicant must be single legal entity that is capable of entering into a Funding Agreement with GRDC;
  • an Applicant has an ABN
  • Applicants can only submit one Application. If an Applicant submits more than one Application, GRDC will only assess the Application that was submitted last on the Grains Investment Portal and set aside any earlier submitted Applications.

Does this mean that an Organisation is the Applicant, and not the Project Leader, and that the Organisation as a whole (the legal entity) is limited to only submit one application?

A5: The legal entity will be the Applicant and can only submit one application. A project leader, who is an employee of the legal entity, will be identified as key personnel in the funding agreement. The project leader is not the Applicant.


Q6: I was hoping the technology might be seen as a derivative of the non chemical weed control priority, and therefore receive a greater ranking. Could you enquire as to how this would be judged?

A6: All applications will be assessed on their fit against priority areas and the individual responses to the selection criteria in the support of the application.


Q7: How stringent do you think the priority 3 will be on non chemical solutions? Would reduction of chemical solutions make it through?

A7: The basic principle is that we can accept applications more broadly, but priority will be given to the named areas.


Q8: We are currently looking at submitting an application through the online portal and as this is my first time doing this I have a couple of questions.

For Service Provider details it shows an email address for ‘Email for Remittance Advice’ – what does this mean and how can the details be amended if required?

For the organisation email there are no details – what is inputted there?

A8: The field requiring email for remittance advice identifies where the remittance advice is to get sent to, i.e. the finance/accounts team.  Post application, this field can only be edited by GRDC as applicants are unable to amend their details in the portal. The field requiring organisation email allows for a generic administrative email to be included for the organisation, which is usually different to the remittance advice email.  Post application, this field can only be edited by GRDC as applicants are unable to amend their details in the portal.


Q9: We were intending to apply for an innovation grant in the context of a project for which we have had some favourable preliminary results. What is the position in relation to Intellectual Property (IP)?  The application guidelines (sections 2.1(h) and (i)) state that IP vests in the applicant. However, the IP ownership clause in the  draft funding agreement provides at clause 9.2 (c) that the GRDC is provided with “a permanent, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive licence (including a right of sub-licence) to use, reproduce, exploit, communicate, adapt and distribute the Agreement Material for any purpose”.

Can you confirm that IP is able to be negotiated at the agreement stage if the application is successful? Can other terms be negotiated e.g. specific reimbursement per volume of product sold? Can a coded treatment where the composition is not declared comply with the Guidelines?

A9: GRDC’s position is that the IP in the Agreement material (i.e. generated under the agreement from the project funding) vests in the Recipient of the funding (see clause 9.2(a) of the draft funding agreement ).  In most cases, GRDC will need a broad licence to assist the funding recipient to utilise the IP or to assist GRDC with its current priorities and projects.  However, GRDC is open to negotiate the IP clause with a funding Recipient, depending upon the circumstances (particularly if there is IP in existing material) and how well developed the IP is in the project.

Other specific terms can also be negotiated e.g. royalties, reimbursement or other commercialisation considerations.  If the IP in some components are not clear, GRDC reserves the right not to progress these applications (section 2.1(d)), this will be reviewed at the assessment of the application.


Q10: As a research fellow at a research organisation, who is considered the Applicant - the research organisation or the research fellow? How many applications can be submitted?

Can an applicant collaborate on more than one application?

A10: GRDC will only consider one application for funding from an applicant, which in this case will be a research organisation, and the research fellow will be identified as key personnel. The lead organisation can identify collaborators in their submission as either part of a consortium or as subcontractors, which can be drafted into a funding agreement if the application is successful.


Q11: Is it necessary for the innovation to make money for GRDC or can it instead be a readily implemented novel cultural practice for which farmers can achieve a high benefit /cost ratio?

A11: GRDC will consider all applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria, and that can enhance the enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.


Q12: In response to Question & Answer 5 of this program, does this mean that an Organisation is the Applicant, and not the Project Leader, and that the Organisation as a whole (the legal entity) is limited to only submit one application? Could you please provide clarification on this point?

A12: Please note the answers to Questions 5 & 10 above.

The Organisation is the Applicant as the single legal entity.  The Organisation may only submit one application. The Project Leader may then be employed/subcontracted or otherwise engaged by an Organisation to conduct the Project.


Q13: Having read through the guidelines and online notes for submitting an application, a couple of areas are still ambiguous making it difficult for a first time Applicant to confidently input required information:

  • Outputs and Applicant Responses:  Output 1 and Response – when looking at this it does not allow you to override ‘Output 1’ nor the ‘Description’ despite a red asterisk showing (though the area is greyed out.
  • Selection Criteria and Applicant Responses: Compliant No or Yes – so we select Yes once we have entered our responses?
  • Selection Criteria and Applicant Responses:  There is a limit on the number of characters allowed in the Response, can we attach a document with full commentary and reference that in the Response?

Is there anywhere that new Applicants can view a ‘dummy’ application with examples or is there someone to talk to and get verbal guidance from?

A13: We encourage applicants to allow adequate time to complete their application, particularly if this is their first interaction with the Grains Investment Portal.

  • Outputs and Applicant Responses:  Applicants are not required to complete the greyed out areas as these are the outputs that have been approved for the investment. Our intention is not for the applicant to change them but rather for the applicant to respond explaining how you intend on achieving these outputs.  To do this the applicant will need to select the down arrow on the right hand side of the outputs and select edit.  This will prompt a new window to appear which will contain a response box for applicant’s to submit your answer.  This will need to be completed for each output and selection criteria requiring a response.
  • Selection Criteria and Applicant Responses:  This field is for the applicant to confirm whether they are compliant with the selection criteria. Not all applicants will be compliant with all the selection criteria however if an applicant responds as being not compliant, the application will still be evaluated evenly with the other successfully submitted applications.  By answering ‘no’ there is an opportunity for the applicant to explain how they will become compliant, noting that there have been incidents where the GRDC evaluation team have identified applications as meeting the selection criteria even if the applicant identified themselves as not complaint. By responding as compliant, an applicant can still be deemed to not meet the selection criteria during the evaluation process.
  • Selection Criteria and Applicant Responses:  GRDC would like applicants to summarise their response in the field available against each of the selection criteria however GRDC acknowledges that applicants are able include attachments to support their submission. Any attachments submitted by applicants in support of their application should be referenced in each response section to ensure that attachments are considered in conjunction with specific summarised responses.

As this approach to market is open, GRDC is unable to provide verbal guidance on the application process.


Q14: We would like to understand whether an innovative manufacturing process that is being applied overseas but has not been able to be applied in Australia yet, would be eligible to comply with the accelerating innovation grants guidelines?

A14: Provided that the application meets the eligibility and selection criteria, it can be considered for this program, noting that priority for proof of concept type applications will be given for applicants targeting the identified priority areas.


Q15: We are considering applying for the GRDC Innovation Program but are trying to determine the eligibility of our research within the context of the guidelines. On examining the weed section of the Innovation Program call for 2018, it appears that novel approaches to weed management are limited to anything that is non-chemical. Our question pertains to what the GRDC consider to be non-chemical? We have a proposal in mind but don't want to submit if it doesn't meet GRDC specifications. Your clarification on this would be appreciated.

A15: Provided that the application meets the eligibility and selection criteria, it can be considered for this program, noting that priority for proof of concept type applications will be given for applicants targeting the identified priority areas. The intention is to prioritise innovative weed management approaches beyond the application of herbicides.


Q16: The application guidelines state applications must be lodged through the Grains Investment Portal (GIP). The Applicant is the legal entity and the researchers are key personnel.

Does this mean the Applicant needs to register an account and the key personnel populates their content into the GIP account? Or do key personnel submit the application and there is a place for uploading a certification page from the Head of Department/Director of Research Office in the application?

A16: Please note the answers to Questions 5, 10 & 12 above.

The applicant is responsible for lodgement of an application through the Grains Investment Portal (GIP). The contributors identified as key personnel may contribute to the application content but are not the applicants themselves.  They may be employed/subcontracted or otherwise engaged by an Organisation to  conduct the project if the application is successful.


Q17: As you mentioned in the guidelines, is maximum project time 2 years? Or can we extend this for 3 years? We would prefer to have the results for a second cropping season as well however if our project started in June 2018, we will miss that years’ crop for measurements.

A17: The maximum duration of projects under this program is 24 months. As the successful applicants will own the intellectual property arising from work carried out under this program, there is no hindrance to further development work being carried out beyond the term of the program.


Q18: With regards to selection criteria 5;

(b) how the funding is intended to be applied between planning, development and commercialisation; we tested pre-commercialisation products, but can we ask funding for commercialisation process as well?

(d) the amount of Co-Contributions (if applicable); we have few researchers would like to contribute as in-kind. Is this acceptable?

A18: In response to selction criteria 5;

(b) Please see eligible activities for funding described in Section 2.2 of the application guidelines.  Commercialisation activities are eligible however will be reviewed in the context of the application and the project as a whole, taking into account the selection criteria.

(d) In-kind contributions from collaborating research organisations can be considered in assessing the value for money of applications.


Q19: I work for a major company but want to apply as a individual and use my ABN. The work will still be done under the company’s banner. What organisation/ABN do I need to put in the application?

A19: There cannot be two applicants for the one project – there needs to be a single applicant. If the project that is the subject of the application is being conducted by the company, then the company is the applicant. If successful the funding agreement will be negotiated with the company and the individual employee may be key personnel or subcontracted etc. If an  individual applies using their own ABN, then this will be a separate application to the company. If successful, the individual will enter into the funding agreement and will be responsible for the obligations under that agreement.


Q20: We are aware that an applicant can only apply for one innovation grant but does that cover the entire Innovation grant category or can we submit an application under each sub category - Accelerating Innovative Technologies and Developing Innovative Businesses?

A20: The two sub categories are two separate funding processes under the one Innovation Program, the current being the Accelerating Innovative Technologies.  The Developing Innovative Businesses will be a separate funding process with different eligibility and selection criteria. Subject to that criteria,  applicants of the current funding process are also able to apply in the next process.


Q21: Can project funds be used for the purchase of project materials? If someone was going to manufacture a prototype, can the cost for goods used in that prototype be paid for using funds from the grant? Project materials do not seem to be clearly addressed on the ‘can list (2.2)’ or ‘can not list (2.3)’.

A21: Material costs associated with prototype development are eligible expenses to be considered for funding. Material costs associated with product production or manufacturing capability will not be funded.


Q22: Can you please clarify the submitting Applicant in more detail. When starting the application through the Grains Investment Portal (access.grdc.com.au/); is the authorised representative for the organisation the individual starting and submitting the application and listed with the Role of Contract Administrator in the Proposed Contract Personnel section?

Also, the Attachment – Additional Response Form (duly signed deed poll), section Title Full name of Applicant – is this the name of the legal entity e.g. University of Sydney or an individual?

A22: The authorised representative will be an individual who has the authority to enter into agreements with GRDC, which may be the person submitting the application – they may be a different person to the contract administrator and also to contract personnel. It will depend on the project and the size/structure of the organisation as to how you want to structure the personnel relevant to the application.

The Applicant is the legal entity that is applying, e.g. University of Sydney - the University of Sydney ABN, registered address etc details (as per the application) are provided not the individual who is filling out the deed poll.  That individual may sign on behalf of the University if they have the appropriate authority.


Q23: I would appreciate if you could indicate whether the three indicated priorities are allocated across the Southern, Northern or Western Regions, or whether the three priorities count equally for all three regions?

A23: The priorities that have been identified are challenges for all Australian growing regions, and as such, applications will be assessed on their potential to deliver benefit to all Australian growers.


Q24: I intended to submit a proposal for Innovation Program 2018, after a significant grounding and coordination with external partners, we prepared a proposal but we realised that the “Attachment - Additional Response Form with deed - Innovation Program (DOCX 231 KB)” required for application has to go through our legal team and it will take 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, we are not able to apply as the deadline is close, I am wondering if there is any chance that we can still do the application?

A24: Unfortunately in order to be a complete application, your submission needs to include the attachment. If an application is submitted without the deed it will not be considered as it will be deemed incomplete.


Q25: What type of applications would be considered under ‘novel solutions for managing the impact of frost on broad acre grains production’? Does an application need to be focused on one specific technical solution, or could an application consider multiple aspects to the solution?

A25: The innovation program guidelines contain all the necessary information on eligibility requirements, as well as the selection criteria via which applications will be assessed.