Applying for a commercialisation grant? Knowing your project’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is key

Commercialisation Milestones Key Stages for Securing Grants

Understand the ins and outs of

Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) for your

project and secure the right commercialisation grant.

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So You Want to Get a Commercialisation Grant?

If you’re considering applying for a commercialisation grant like the
Industry Growth ProgramIgnite Ideas Fund or the MVP Venture Program, it’s crucial to understand that the success of your application largely depends on where your project currently stands in its development lifecycle.

Not all stages of commercialisation are equally suited for grant opportunities, and knowing this can be the difference between securing funding or missing out.

Assessing Your Project’s Stage

Commercialisation grants are typically designed to support projects at specific stages of development. These stages are often aligned with the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), a system used to estimate the maturity of a technology. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  • Early Stages (TRL 1-3): This phase involves basic research and concept formulation. While foundational, it’s often too preliminary for most commercialisation grants, which seek more tangible progress.
  • Middle Stages (TRL 4-6): This is where your idea starts taking shape, moving from lab experiments to prototype development. Many grants target projects in these stages, as they demonstrate a clear path towards commercial viability.
  • Advanced Stages (TRL 7-9): Here, your product or service is close to or ready for the market. Grants at this stage are highly competitive and focus on scaling, market entry, and final refinements.

What is the Technology Readiness Level (TRL)?

A Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is a metric used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology. This scale ranges from TRL 1, which signifies the basic principles of the technology, to TRL 9, indicating that the technology is fully developed and tested in its operational environment.  

What are each of the TRLs?


Here’s a breakdown of each TRL along with a brief description:

  • TRL 1 – Basic Principles Observed:– Initial scientific research has begun, and basic principles are observed and reported.
  • TRL 2 – Technology Concept Formulated:– Conceptual idea is formulated. Research begins to be translated into applied R&D.
  • TRL 3 – Experimental Proof of Concept: – Active research and design efforts. Proof-of-concept or experimental verification of the technology.
  • TRL 4 – Technology Validated in Lab:– Lab testing of prototype components or methods to establish that they will work.
  • TRL 5 – Technology Validated in Relevant Environment:– Fidelity of prototype tested in a relevant environment. Represents a significant step up in a system’s demonstrated readiness.
  • TRL 6 – Technology Demonstrated in Relevant Environment:– Prototype system tested in a relevant environment. Shows near-operational capability.
  • TRL 7 – System Prototype Demonstration in Operational Environment: – Final prototype system is demonstrated in an operational environment (real-world conditions).
  • TRL 8 – System Complete and Qualified:– Technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions.
  • TRL 9 – Actual System Proven in Operational Environment:– Actual application of the technology in its final form and under real-life conditions, such as those encountered in operational tests and evaluations.

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Understanding Grant Requirements

Different grants have different criteria. Some may fund early-stage research, while others focus on late-stage development and scaling.

For example, a grant that aims to stimulate innovation might fund projects in the early TRL stages, whereas a grant focusing on market expansion might only consider projects in the higher TRL stages.

Tailoring Your Application

Knowing where your project stands is essential in tailoring your grant application. Aligning your project’s stage with the grant’s focus increases your chances of success. It’s important to:

  • Clearly Define Your Stage: Be explicit about your current TRL stage and how it aligns with the grant’s objectives.
  • Highlight the Potential: Show how further development with grant funding can bring your project to the next phase.

Example – Black Box Flight Recorder

TRL 1 – Basic Principles Observed
The initial concept of a device capable of recording flight data for post-accident analysis is theorised. This stage involves basic scientific research into materials and recording technologies that could potentially withstand the extreme conditions of an aircraft accident.

TRL 2 – Technology Concept Formulated
The idea of a durable, secure flight recorder emerges, focusing on its potential functionalities such as recording flight parameters and cockpit conversations. Theoretical designs and initial specifications are developed, outlining the basic requirements and operational principles of the device.

TRL 3 – Experimental Proof of Concept
Early-stage prototypes are created to demonstrate the feasibility of recording critical flight data. These experiments focus on testing individual components, like memory storage and protective casing, under controlled conditions to evaluate their potential performance in an aviation environment.

TRL 4 – Technology Validated in Lab
A rudimentary version of the black box is assembled and undergoes extensive testing in laboratory settings. This testing aims to validate the functionality of recording and preserving data, ensuring the device can withstand extreme conditions such as high impact and heat.

TRL 5 – Technology Validated in Relevant Environment
The prototype black box is subjected to more realistic testing conditions that closely mimic the stresses of an actual aircraft crash. This includes simulated crash impacts, exposure to extreme temperatures, and submersion in water, to validate its design in environments analogous to real flight scenarios.

TRL 6 – Technology Demonstrated in Relevant Environment
An advanced prototype, integrating both Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), is installed in aircraft for testing under actual flight conditions. This stage involves rigorous in-flight trials to ensure reliable performance in capturing and storing data during normal and emergency flight operations.

TRL 7 – System Prototype Demonstration in Operational Environment
The near-final design of the black box is installed in commercial aircraft for extended trial periods. This phase focuses on demonstrating the system’s functionality and reliability in a real operational environment, including data retrieval and analysis post-flight.

TRL 8 – System Complete and Qualified
Following comprehensive trials and refinements, the black box design is finalised and meets all regulatory and safety standards for aviation. The device is now ready for mass production and widespread installation in commercial and military aircraft.

TRL 9 – Actual System Proven in Operational Environment
The black box becomes an integral component in commercial aircraft globally, demonstrating its crucial role in numerous accident investigations. Its ability to withstand crashes and provide invaluable data for accident investigation and aviation safety improvements is proven in real-life scenarios.


Need Help choosing the right TRL?

Here is a quick checklist of what you need at each level

TRL 1 – Basic Principles Observed

  • Identification of basic principles underlying the technology.
  • Initial scientific research initiated.
  • Documentation of theoretical findings.

TRL 2 – Technology Concept Formulated

  • Development of theoretical concept and initial design.
  • Preliminary analysis of technology’s potential.
  • Documentation of conceptual ideas and potential applications.

TRL 3 – Experimental Proof of Concept

  • Creation of initial prototype or model.
  • Laboratory testing of key elements of the technology.
  • Documentation of experimental results and analysis.

TRL 4 – Technology Validated in Lab

  • Integration of components into initial prototype.
  • Lab testing of prototype under controlled conditions.
  • Documentation of test results and validation of concept.

TRL 5 – Technology Validated in Relevant Environment

  • Enhancement of prototype for testing in a relevant environment.
  • Simulation or testing under realistic conditions.
  • Analysis and documentation of performance data.

TRL 6 – Technology Demonstrated in Relevant Environment

  • Development of advanced prototype for real-world testing.
  • In-situ testing under operational conditions.
  • Collection and analysis of performance data in a relevant environment.

TRL 7 – System Prototype Demonstration in Operational Environment

  • Finalisation of prototype design.
  • Extensive testing in actual operational environment.
  • Documentation of comprehensive test results and system validations.

TRL 8 – System Complete and Qualified

  • Completion of final system design.
  • Full compliance with all regulatory and safety standards.
  • Production of pre-commercial units for final testing.

TRL 9 – Actual System Proven in Operational Environment

  • Full-scale production of the technology.
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation of system performance in operational conditions.
  • Documentation of long-term operational data and feedback for future improvements.

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Industry Growth Program

Industry Growth Program

The Industry Growth Program’s delineation between early-stage commercialisation projects and commercialisation and growth projects offers a clear framework for understanding how different stages of development align with funding opportunities.

Early-Stage Commercialisation Projects (TRL3 to TRL6)

  • Focus: This stage targets the journey from feasibility studies to the development and testing of early prototypes. It encompasses the critical transition from theoretical research to tangible, testable products or processes.
  • Key Activities: Activities in this phase include conducting feasibility studies, developing proofs of concept, and creating initial prototypes. The emphasis is on validating the commercial viability of the innovation in a simulated or theoretical environment.
  • Importance: This phase is crucial for establishing the fundamental viability and potential market impact of the innovation. It lays the groundwork for further development and scaling.
  • Funding Objective: Grants at this stage aim to support projects that are still in their formative phases but show strong potential for commercial success. The funding helps bridge the gap between conceptualisation and readiness for market entry.

Commercialisation and Growth Projects (TRL4 to TRL9)

  • Focus: This category includes projects that have moved beyond the proof of concept and are in the stages of refining and scaling their innovations.
  • Key Activities:Activities involve further development of prototypes, extensive testing in operational environments, and preparations for full-scale production and market entry.
  • Importance: This stage is critical for turning viable prototypes into market-ready products, processes, or services. It’s where the innovation is fine-tuned, production processes are established, and strategies for market penetration are developed.
  • Funding Objective: Grants in this phase are designed to assist projects that have demonstrated their feasibility and are ready to move towards commercialisation and market growth. The funding supports scaling up production, enhancing product features, and entering new markets.

MVP Ventures Program

The MVP Ventures Program is a pivotal initiative aimed at accelerating the commercialisation of innovative products and processes. Its structure and objectives are tailored to support businesses through crucial stages of development.

  • Primary Goals: The program aims to boost the commercialisation of innovative products and processes in New South Wales (NSW), thereby attracting and retaining commercialisation activities within the region.
  • Target Range: It focuses on new products or processes within the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 to 9. The aim is to assist these projects in advancing along the TRL scale and to position them for attracting significant private investments.
  • Continuous Support: Unique to this program is the provision for businesses to reapply for additional funding upon successful completion of a project. This enables continued progression along the TRL scale.

Ignite Ideas Fund

The Ignite Ideas Fund, part of the Advance Queensland initiative, has a well-structured framework for assessing applications, focusing on five key areas: Innovation, Market Potential, Technology/Market Readiness, Project Viability, and Organisational Capability. Each of these areas is crucial for the successful commercialisation of innovative products or services. 
To be eligible and successful in the Ignite Ideas Fund, applicants need to have their product or service at or beyond the minimum viable product stage, which aligns with TRL 6. This means the innovation should have progressed beyond initial proof of concept or prototype (TRL 3-5) and undergone testing with potential users. By the end of the project, the expectation is that the product or service will have entered the market (reaching TRL 8-9), evidenced by increased paying customers and business revenue. This demonstrates a readiness for commercialisation, with a focus on products that are not only technologically sound but also have clear market demand and scalability.

R&D tax Incentive

If your project is in the early stages of the TRL scale (TRL 1-3), the R&D Tax Incentive is likely the most suitable program to consider. These stages typically involve fundamental research, concept development, and early proof-of-concept activities. The R&D Tax Incentive is designed to support such experimental and innovative efforts, encouraging businesses to undertake activities aimed at achieving technological advancements and resolving scientific uncertainties. This makes it an ideal fit for projects that are still in the conceptual or early developmental phases, where the focus is on generating new knowledge and technological breakthroughs. 

Need Assistance with Commercialisation Grants or the R&D Tax Incentive?

Navigating the complexities of commercialisation grants and the R&D Tax Incentive can be challenging. At Bulletpoint, we specialise in guiding businesses through these intricate processes. With our extensive experience and expertise, we can help you understand which program best suits your project’s stage and maximise your chances of success.

Don’t miss out on valuable opportunities for your innovative projects.

  • Book a Meeting: Schedule a consultation with us to discuss your specific needs. Visit our booking page to find a time that works for you.
  • Call Us: For direct assistance, give us a call at 1300 658 508. We’re here to answer your questions and provide tailored advice.
  • Send a Message: Prefer to start with a message? Reach out to us through our contact form.

At Bulletpoint, we’re committed to helping your business navigate the R&D tax incentive process and commercialisation grant applications with ease and expertise. Let’s work together to ensure your innovation gets the support it deserves.


A TRL is a metric used to assess the maturity level of a technology, ranging from basic principles (TRL 1) to fully developed and tested products (TRL 9).

Commercialisation grants typically target technologies at specific TRL stages, often focusing on mid-level TRLs (4-6), where a product moves from prototype to market readiness.

Yes, early TRL stage projects (1-3), involving fundamental research and concept development, are well-suited for R&D tax incentives.

It depends on the specific grant criteria, but TRL 7 projects, close to market entry, may qualify for certain commercialisation grants.

Not necessarily; reaching TRL 9 means the technology is market-ready, but funding depends on specific grant requirements and competition.

Early to mid-level TRL stages (1-6) are ideal for R&D tax incentives, focusing on experimental and innovative development activities.

As a project advances in TRL, it may shift from being eligible for R&D incentives to qualifying for commercialisation grants, aligning with its development stage.

Potentially, if different stages of the project meet the respective criteria for each funding source.

Bulletpoint specialises in guiding businesses through the process of identifying suitable grants and incentives based on their project’s TRL stage.

Reach out to Bulletpoint for professional advice on aligning your project with the right commercialisation grants or R&D tax incentives. Visit Bulletpoint to learn more.

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