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The $200 million Clean Technology Innovation Program will operate over five years. It is a competitive, merit-based, grants program. The program will provide grants of between $50,000 and $5 million and will contribute one dollar for every one dollar contributed by grantees (e.g. a Government contribution rate of up to 50 per cent of eligible expenditure).
The objective of the program is to increase research and development, proof of concept and early stage commercialisation activities that lead to the development of new clean technologies and associated services including low emission and energy efficient solutions that reduce greenhouse emissions. The program’s investment in clean technology innovation projects should help industries become more competitive and so transition to a low carbon future.
It is proposed that to be eligible to apply for a grant under the Clean Technology Innovation Program the applicant must:
Applications involving collaboration between at least two incorporated businesses, or one incorporated business and one higher education institution (or a research institute affiliated with a university) will be strongly encouraged. Collaborative partners can be either Australian or internationally based. This is to stimulate more collaborative activity which has been found to be associated with novel or radical innovation.
Should there be a restriction on the size or type of business that can access the program? If yes, on what basis (i.e. financial earnings, or energy consumption, or sector)?
The program will be designed to be as flexible as possible and will provide support for research and development, proof of concept and early-stage commercialisation activities.
Proposed definitions of eligible activities
The terms R&D, proof-of-concept, pre-commercialisation and demonstration activities are fairly broad in nature and encompass a wide range of undertakings including, for instance, applied research, IP protection and management, product testing and development, experimental development or prototyping.
Research and development (R&D)
The definition of R&D activities will align with the definition outlined in the R&D Tax Incentive legislation.
Proof of concept
Proof-of-concept activity is concerned with the work necessary to establish the commercial and technical viability of a product or process. The proof-of-concept process can involve different activities depending on the particular area of technology involved and it is likely that there will be no standard procedure that all projects will follow.
Early-stage commercialisation activity is concerned with systematic work necessary for installing and establishing processes, systems and services that enable a new product, process or service to be produced to the stage where it can effectively be brought to market.
Eligibility will broad in nature and encompass a range of project undertakings including applied research and development, intellectual property protection and management, product prototyping, testing and proof-of-concept.
Proposed project activities could include:
The following activities are ineligible for support:
Eligible expenditure must be directly related to project activities (R&D, proof of concept and early stage commercialisation).
It is proposed that funds may be used for:
Where a proportion of program funds are to be spent overseas, such expenditure must deliver demonstrably high levels of economic, environmental and/or social benefits to Australia; including the use of any intellectual property rights.
Activities paid for by the grantee using in-kind or non-cash considerations are not eligible expenditure.
The Clean Technology Innovation Program funding must not be used for activities previously funded or currently being funded by another government program. Standard clawback provisions will apply to grants made under the Program to ensure that proponents do not 'double dip'.
Program funds cannot be spent on the indirect support costs of research or staff (e.g. non-salary overheads), nor to reimburse participants for the costs associated with existing staff or other resources.
To be eligible, the grantee must incur expenditure on or after the project commencement date, which cannot be before the date the Program Delegate accepts the application for assessment, and on or before the project completion date, with the exception of final audit costs which can be incurred within three months of the project completion date.
As the grants are not “entitlements”, eligible applications will be assessed against merit criteria and the most competitive will be funded. Applications should aim to demonstrate a strong case against each of the criteria.
Applicants will need to demonstrate that the proposed project and activities would not take place (or might be significantly delayed) without public support.
Complete sets of guiding questions for merit criterion will cover the following:
Criterion 1 - The extent of the reduction in carbon or energy intensity associated with the proposed project
Criterion 2 –Calibre of innovation (including applicant capabilities)
Criterion 3 –Potential uptake of innovation
The programs will support projects to a maximum of two years duration. If successful, extensions of time of up to an additional six months may be considered if the need for the extension could not have been anticipated prior to the project commencing.
APPLICATION AND ASSESSMENT PROCESS
The program will be administered and delivered by AusIndustry, a specialist program delivery division of the Department. The applicant must meet all costs associated with preparing applications and providing information to AusIndustry.
Applications will be lodged electronically with AusIndustry.
The eligibility of applications will be assessed by AusIndustry and decided by the Delegate. Only eligible applications will proceed to the merit assessment stage. Applicants will be referred to other government support programs if deemed more suitable by AusIndustry.
Applications may be lodged at any time and eligible applications will be assessed on a continuous basis, by a committee, formed under Innovation Australia. Innovation Australia will provide expert independent advice to the Department and Government in respect to the merit and rank order of applications.
Applicants will be informed in writing of the success or otherwise of their applications. Unsuccessful applicants may re-apply to the program.
AusIndustry will enter into funding agreements with successful applicants and monitor the performance of grantees.
Customer reporting requirements (at start of project/application, during the project, end of project and post project) will include collection of data to inform on the performance of the program against its KPIs/targets.
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