Innovation Districts COVID-19 R&D Challenges

Grant funding of up to $250,000 available

NSW Treasury is working with UNSW as one of its partners in the Boosting Business Innovation Program, to hold three rounds of challenges in innovation districts across NSW.

The Innovation Districts Challenges are designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of COVID-19 by businesses in partnership with universities and CSIRO in NSW.

Challenge themes align with the NSW Government ‘Respond, Recover and Reform’ approach to COVID-19.

UNSW will work with industry partners and collaborative networks to identify and nominate three outstanding commercialisation proposals from small to medium businesses within our innovation district.


Challenge 1: Health and wellbeing solutions that reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the people of NSW

The first challenge was launched on 2 October 2020.

If your business has a product or service that directly addresses the impact of COVID-19, and it is a health and wellbeing solution for the people of NSW, then we would like to hear from you now. 

Register your Expression of Interest to begin your application. DEADLINE 23 October.


Key Dates

2 October Program launched 

23 October Deadline for Expression of Interest (at UNSW) 



To be eligible, businesses must have:

  • an ABN registered in NSW and be based in NSW,
  • fewer than 200 employees,
  • been trading for at least 12 months
  • at least $75,000 in sales revenue within the last 12 months or previous financial year,
  • a product or service (which may still be in development) that it intends to market within 12 months that directly addresses the health and wellbeing impact of COVID-19,
  • ownership that is at least 75 per cent Australian and is not more than 50 per cent owned by another business.

To demonstrate eligibility, businesses must also provide:

  • an operating profit and loss statement for the last 12 months or previous financial year
  • brief profiles of key personnel such as a CV or LinkedIn accounts
  • nomination of their primary innovation district partner


Application Process

The application process is managed in two stages.

Stage 1

If you are eligible to participate, UNSW will work with you to develop your application.

The top three proposals will be nominated to progress to Stage Two.

Stage 2

If you progress to Stage Two you will need;

  • Completed Stage Two Application
  • Pitch deck including budget, commercialisation plan, and video presentation up to two minutes

The final submissions will be assessed by an independent evaluation panel provided by NSW Treasury. 



The total funding pool available for each Challenge round is $500,000.

  • Highest ranked applicant $250,000
  • Second-highest ranked applicant $100,000
  • Third-highest ranked applicant $30,000
  • Highest ranked applicant in each Innovation District that is not one of the statewide overall recipients will be granted $10,000, as determined by the evaluation panel.


Register your Expression of Interest to begin your application. 


More information

Download a copy of the grant guidelines:

Innovation Districts COVID-19 R&D Challenges Grant Guidelines

Download a flyer to share with your colleagues:

Innovation Districts COVID-19 R&D Challenges Flyer

Visit the NSW Treasury website for updates.

UNSW Contact Details:

Danielle Neale
Mobile: 0481 451 636