The Victorian Government has announced the launch of a new $15 million research and development (R&D) fund Made in Victoria - Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund. This initiative aims to support Victorian businesses in creating new products, harnessing innovation, and competing on a global scale.
The fund will provide matched grant funding ranging from $250,000 to $2 million to eligible businesses. The financial assistance aims to bolster their R&D infrastructure, thereby fuelling innovative discovery across a plethora of disciplines. The scheme will also fund the acquisition of sophisticated equipment, such as measurement instruments, imaging and sensing technologies, and clean room facilities.
Minister for Industry and Innovation, Ben Carroll, stated, "We're backing cutting-edge research and development because we know that innovations discovered here in Victoria help to grow businesses and create jobs. We want to make it easier for Victorian businesses to invest in research and development because we know it will deliver major benefits for our economy for years to come."
This initiative will particularly support projects in sectors identified as key in the Government’s Made in Victoria: 2030 Manufacturing Statement. These sectors include new energy, health technology, food manufacturing, defence and aerospace, and advanced technology.
In addition to boosting innovation, the fund aims to stimulate business investment in R&D by complementing existing initiatives, such as the Commonwealth Government’s R&D tax incentive. This strategic move will not only strengthen the state’s innovation capabilities but also deliver widespread benefits for Victoria’s advanced manufacturing sector.
Beyond the monetary benefits, the Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund will nurture stronger connections between industry and research organisations, including Victoria’s leading universities. The aim is to facilitate the production of high-quality research, which, in turn, can drive greater levels of innovation and productivity across different sectors.
The new fund is part of the Victoria Government’s concerted efforts to stimulate innovation and strengthen local supply chains. Other ongoing projects include a $5 million injection into LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund to support women-led startups, and $12.3 million to bolster the development of major sovereign mRNA manufacturing facilities in Victoria.
The government has opened Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Made in Victoria – Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund. Businesses that carry out R&D as part of their operations, including R&D service providers, are encouraged to apply. However, they must clearly illustrate how funding will promote further growth in business expenditure on R&D. The expectation is that funded projects will contribute to the broader objectives of the program.
The Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund serves to incentivise Victorian companies to invest in new or enhanced R&D infrastructure, thereby supporting the growth of Victoria’s R&D capability across key industry sectors. The funding can benefit a business, an industry, or both. However, applicants must demonstrate how the project will increase Victoria’s business expenditure on R&D over the medium to long term.
The program supports new R&D infrastructure projects that align with Victoria’s priority industries as identified in the Made in Victoria: 2030 Manufacturing Statement. These include new energy technologies (wind, hydrogen, solar, batteries), health technologies (medtech, biotech, pharma, consumer healthcare), food manufacturing and agriculture, defence, aerospace, space, and digital and advanced technologies (advanced materials, robotics, AI, 3D-printing, quantum technologies). Projects tied to other industry sectors may also apply for funding.
The fund aims to directly support industry investment in new or enhanced R&D infrastructure to increase R&D activity. It also intends to foster high-quality collaboration and mutually beneficial research between industry, universities, and/or research providers. Furthermore, the initiative expects to deliver broader spill-over benefits, particularly in manufacturing and supply chains, while simultaneously focusing on workforce upskilling within priority industry sectors. By supporting R&D infrastructure, the fund aims to strengthen the capability of Victorian industry to respond to emerging innovation opportunities.
About the Fund
The Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund will incentivise Victorian companies to make new investments in new or enhanced R&D infrastructure to support the growth of Victoria’s R&D capability across key industry sectors and further business expenditure on R&D. The benefits created by the funding can be to a business, or to an industry, or to both, but must be able to show how the project will increase Victoria’s business expenditure on R&D in the medium to longer term. The program will support new R&D infrastructure projects aligned to Victoria’s priority industries as identified in the Made in Victoria: 2030 Manufacturing Statement, including:
new energy technologies, including wind, hydrogen, solar and batteries
health technologies, including medtech, biotech, pharma and consumer healthcare
food manufacturing and agriculture
defence, aerospace and space
digital and advanced technologies, including advanced materials, robotics, AI (Artificial Intelligence), 3D printing, and quantum technologies.
Projects aligned to other industry sectors may also apply for funding. To support business investment in R&D as a key driver of innovation and economic growth this program will:
directly support industry investment in new or enhanced R&D infrastructure to increase R&D activity
enable high-quality collaboration and mutually valued research between industry, universities and/or research providers
deliver broader spill-over benefits from the investments, particularly in manufacturing, strengthening supply chains and in upskilling the workforce, with a focus on priority industry sectors
support R&D infrastructure that will strengthen the capability of Victorian industry to respond to opportunities in emerging areas of innovation.
The Industry R&D Infrastructure Fund is open to:
businesses that have identified key research and development equipment/infrastructure that will support their R&D activities and anchor their operation in Victoria
businesses that provide R&D services.
Successful applicants will need to complete the project activities within 12 months. Successful applicants may negotiate project timelines beyond 12 months on a case-by-case basis.
To be eligible the organisation must:
be a business operating in Victoria with an Australian Business Number (ABN)
employ at least 20 FTE (full-time equivalent) staff or have an annual turnover between $1.5 to $100 million
agree to meet all industrial relations obligations as an employer, in accordance with the National Employment Standards
agree to adhere to and enforce Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017, the Fair Jobs Code (2018), the Local Jobs First Policy (2018) and Gender Equality Act (2020)
demonstrate why government funding is necessary to achieve the project outcomes or would lead to improved outcomes.
The program provides grants of up to 50% of eligible project expenditure with all grants requiring a minimum 1:1 co-contribution from the applicant. The minimum grant amount is $250,000 (excluding GST) and the maximum grant amount is up to $2 million (excluding GST).
Funding will not be provided for retrospective activities, i.e., where project expenditure is incurred prior to acceptance of a letter of offer. Applicants that commence their projects prior to execution of a grant agreement do so at their own risk. Approval for funding is independent of and does not guarantee entitlement to the tax offset under the Australian Government's R&D Tax Incentive (R&DTI). Applicants are responsible for seeking specialist advice concerning any implications of grant funding towards future tax claims under the Australian Government's R&DTI.
Funds from other Victorian or Australian Government programs cannot form part of the co-contribution. Full project expenditure, including grant funding and co-contribution funding, must be spent on eligible project activities as detailed in the program guidelines.
How to apply
There is a two-stage application process. Expressions of Interest open on Thursday 6 July 2023 and close at 5pm on Friday 18 August 2023. Successful Expression of Interest applicants will be invited to apply to Stage Two and submit a more detailed application, including a project plan, project budget, financial reports for the past three years, evidence of 1:1 co-contribution, business plan, risk management plan and letters of support. An invitation to submit an application to Stage Two does not guarantee funding will be approved.
Haines Consulting Group is a management consultancy firm specialising in business strategy, growth, government grants and new venture developments. If you need any assistance with a grant submission please contact us now for a confidential conversation.