Collaborative Networks Pilot Program

$1.5 million in funding to build a collaborative culture and strategic partnerships between businesses and the research sector, to improve the commercialisation of innovation and new technologies


The Victorian Government ‘the Government’ is calling for proposals from service providers interested in working with industry and the research sector to participate in the new Collaborative Networks Pilot Program. This new initiative, a key Baillieu Government election commitment, focuses on driving innovation at firm (particularly SME) level to improve productivity.

The Collaborative Networks Pilot Program is designed to capitalise on Victoria’s innovation and technology strengths through increasing productive collaborations. It seeks to establish formal networks within industry and between industry and the research sector (private and public), leveraging existing Victorian based R&D capability, to promote and enable the absorption of technology for specific industry needs.

It is intended that services should complement and augment programs already underway through the Smart SMEs Innovation Commercialisation Program (further detail at Attachment A).

The Government will provide total funding of up to $1.5 million for new initiatives in this priority area. As the Government is committed to piloting a variety of models that support the absorption of technology, project proponents should avoid seeking the entirety of available funds which are available. The Department anticipates that budgets will be spent over approximately two years to December 2013.

Program Objectives

The Collaborative Networks Pilot Program aims to:

  1. Build a collaborative culture and strategic partnerships between industries and between industry and research (public or private) to achieve the commercialisation and absorption of existing and emerging innovations (including technologies);
  2. Provide incentives for a more responsive and accessible research and development sector which can make a greater contribution to the Victorian economy;
  3. Maximise diffusion of innovation across firms, in particular SMEs, and across the economy;
  4. Accelerate productive use of new technologies by Victorian firms, particularly SMEs;
  5. Introduce good management practices for knowledge assets in research establishments and industry that enable and promote exploitation of those assets in the Victorian market place;
  6. Improve the opportunities for and performance of licensing technology that adds value to Victorian firms, particularly SMEs.

Funding Principles

The Government is committed to piloting a variety of models that support the absorption of technology and will provide total funding of up to $1.5 million in a single funding round for compelling collaborative investment proposals.


Collaborative Networks Pilot Program Funding will be made available for proposals that meet or exceed the following desirable characteristics:

  • Close alignment with one or more of the Program Objectives
  • Substantive link to greater Victorian productivity and more high-value jobs
  • Demonstrate strategic collaborative partnerships
  • Leverage existing Victorian capability
  • Demonstrate the strong track record of the project proponents
  • Include a strategic action plan and preliminary time schedules for the delivery of the Project
  • Include proposed logical and clear performance measurement indicators for the activities to be developed and delivered. Registrants should note that all outputs will be evaluated on quantity, quality, timeliness and user satisfaction

Collaborative Networks Pilot Program Proposals from industry-led consortia are strongly encouraged.

Collaborative Networks Pilot Program Funding

  • A single funding round will commence in early 2012.
  • Proposals that include significant matching funding (cash) are preferred, in-kind contributions are required.
  • Requested funding should not exceed $0.3 million for any single project (proposals requiring additional funds will be considered, in exceptional circumstances).
  • Funding is provided on a project basis and is not recurrent.
  • Funds will typically be made available to projects with two year delivery profiles.
  • The Government is not bound to use all the available funds if either insufficient projects are considered suitable for funding or the selection criteria are not met.
  • Funding will not be considered for proposals that duplicate existing services or which are considered to be more applicable for support from other Victorian or Australian

Eligible Applicants

Grants from the Collaborative Networks Pilot Program are available for collaborative projects that may include existing collaborations or the formation of new joint ventures or other types of partnerships (public/private or public/public). Applications are open to partnerships between organisations including, but not limited to:

  • Private firms (small and medium);
  • Industry associations;
  • Universities and other post-secondary educational institutions;
  • Research institutes;
  • Cooperative Research Centres;
  • Public not-for-profit organisations;
  • Victorian Government agencies and other Government agencies active in Victoria.

The lead organisation is responsible for administration of the grant funding for and on behalf of its partner organisations, via a funding agreement with the Victorian Government.

Initial applications in the form of a business case, must be able to certify:

  • that the lead organisation is a Victorian based-entity with whom the Victorian Government can enter into legally binding funding agreements;
  • that the project is to be located in Victoria and will be ready to commence in quarter 2 2012;
  • that any non-Victorian partners are necessary for achieving the core objectives and delivering significant benefit to Victoria;

Collaborative Networks Pilot Program Projects seeking funding for equity investments or science and technology research are not eligible.

Electronic or hard copies must be received no later than 3:30pm on 3 February 2012.

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