What is the Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centres Grants?
The Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centres Grants is a program to support the establishment of AI and digital capability centres to drive the adoption and use of AI technologies by Australian businesses.
The Australian Government’s Artificial Intelligence Action Plan sets out a vision for Australia to be a global leader in developing and adopting trusted, secure and responsible artificial intelligence (AI).
Under the Plan, the Government is investing $44 million across 2021-2022 to 2024-2025 to establish four AI and Digital Capability Centres. These centres will connect small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with AI equipment and tools, provide services and training, and link them to AI skills and expertise. In turn, the centres will support the development, commercialisation, and adoption of new high-value AI products and services for the domestic and global marketplace.
The Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centres (the Capability Centres) will drive SMEs adoption, and the development, commercialisation and use of AI to propel novel and improved products, processes and services across sectors and into new markets.
The objectives of establishing these Capability Centres are to:
- establish a ‘front door’ for SMEs to access capabilities, expertise and innovative technologies to adopt, adapt, test and deploy AI technologies
- foster collaboration and connect SMEs with opportunities to lift productivity and drive commercialisation
- coordinate and drive the growth of Australia’s AI ecosystem
- lift SME capabilities so they can confidently adopt AI solutions.
The maximum grant amount is $11 million.
The grant amount will be up to 75 per cent of eligible project expenditure. You are responsible for any eligible project expenditure not covered by the grant. It is expected that $1 million of total project funding is allocated to support collaborative projects.
To be eligible for the Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centres Grants, your project must:
- establish a Capability Centre in or building on an existing technology or manufacturing precinct/hub or university or centre of excellence
- nominate one or more focus area(s) in specific applications of AI which support the National Manufacturing Priorities and/or the Digital Growth Priorities
This must be achieved through:
- undertaking the necessary planning, preparation and administration activities directly related to the establishment and running of the Capability Centre
- undertaking activities that support SMEs within your identified focus area(s) to create AI products or services for an overseas or interstate market
- supporting the adoption, adaption or development of AI within SMEs, from your identified focus area(s), to create or improve products or services for an overseas or interstate market (export AI products or services nationally or internationally)
- supporting commercialisation outcomes and attracting investment in Australian AI products and solutions from domestic and international markets
- including a financial allocation in your project budget of at least $1 million over the grant’s project period for collaborative projects
Eligible activities may include the following:
- Supporting SMEs to commercialise their AI products and services
- supporting the development of new AI solutions with commercial application to turn research outcomes into high-value products and services for the domestic and global marketplace
- participating in industry-research partnerships that support the translation of AI research and development into commercial or economic outcomes for industry and Australia
- assisting SMEs in international collaboration, accessing global market opportunities and value chains.
- Lowering the barriers of entry for AI adoption by providing SMEs with access to AI expertise and technology
- providing a platform that enables SMEs to test and understand the applicability of AI solutions for their businesses without requiring upfront investment
- working in partnership with the NAIC and other Capability Centres to identify and deliver projects that address major AI adoption, research and development opportunities and challenges, have broad applicability for SMEs and potential positive spill-over effects.
- Improving the skills, confidence and capability of SMEs to adopt, adapt and develop AI solutions
- providing services and training to SMEs, such as AI needs assessment, business readiness workshops and advisory services to support AI adoption and development
- helping SMEs identify their AI needs and connecting them with leading researchers that may be able to assist them to assemble expert teams or design and validate new AI applications
- supporting the growth of Australia’s AI ecosystem to support the translation of AI products and services to relevant areas of the economy.
Eligible expenditure includes:
- labour costs
- up to 30% of labour on-costs (e.g. superannuation, payroll tax, workers compensation insurance)
- eligible project activities that you contract to others
- domestic and overseas travel, within reason
- workshop and conference costs
- staff training
- capital items.
To be eligible for the Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centres Grants, you must have an Australian business number (ABN).
You must also be one of the following entities:
- an entity, incorporated in Australia
- a publicly funded research organisation (PFRO).
The Artificial Intelligence and Digital Capability Centres Grants can only accept applications:
- where you certify that your project is supported by your board (or chief executive officer or equivalent if there is no board), and that you can complete the project and meet the costs of the project not covered by grant funding
- where you certify that you have or will have relevant intellectual property arrangements in place in order to undertake your project
- where you certify that your activities will support:
- the creation of AI products or services by SMEs primarily for an overseas or interstate market; or
- the use of AI or digital capability within SMEs to create or improve products or services primarily for an overseas or interstate market.
Applications close 12 May 2022.