What is the Cooperative Research Centres Program?

The Cooperative Research Centres program is a grant opportunity that supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community. The program is a proven model for linking researchers with industry to focus on research and development towards use and commercialisation.



Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Grants are part of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program. The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC)  Program supports industry, research and the community in 2 ways:

  • CRC Grants – support medium to long term industry-led collaborative research, for up to 10 years.
  • CRC Projects (CRC-P) grants – support short term, industry-led collaborative research, for up to 3 years.

Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Grants provide funding for collaborations to solve industry identified problems.



The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Programme aims to:

  • improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength, and in line with Government Priorities.
  • foster high quality research to solve industry-identified problems through industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships between Industry Entities and Research Organisations.
  • encourage and facilitate Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) participation in collaborative research.



The Australian Government committed a total of $753 million over four years for the Cooperative Research Centres Program from 2019-20 to 2022-23. CRCs and CRC-Ps are funded by the same appropriation. There is no specific amount allocated to each of the two funding elements.

The grant amount will be up to 50 per cent of eligible grant project costs (grant percentage) which includes the total eligible expenditure plus allowable in-kind contributions.


Eligible Projects

To be eligible for the Cooperative Research Centres Program your project must:

  • be a medium to long term industry-led collaborative research project to solve industry-identified problems and improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries
  • include an industry-focused education and training program. This must include, but is not limited to, a PhD program that complements the research program and that increases engagement, technology development, skilled employees and R&D capacity within industry entities
  • implement strategies which build the R&D capacity within SMEs, and
  • deploy research outputs and encourage take-up by industry.

Eligible activities must directly relate to the project and can include:

  • new research
  • proof of concept activities
  • pre-commercialisation of research outcomes
  • industry-focused education and training activities, such as internships and secondments between industry entities and research organisations
  • conferences, workshops, symposia related to the joint research
  • related information sharing and communication initiatives related to the joint research
  • collaboration with international organisations and/or with companies with global supply chains and access to international markets, to provide national benefits to Australia.


Eligible Applicants

Cooperative Research Centres grants are open to all industry sectors and research disciplines and funding is available to organisations from all industry, research and community sectors. You must apply as a group of applicants who have agreed to collaborate. If your application is successful, you must establish your CRC as an incorporated company, limited by guarantee.

Each Cooperative Research Centres must include and maintain amongst its project partners at least:

  • an Australian industry entity and’
  • an Australian research organisation.

If your application is successful, the applicants become project partners in the relevant CRC and have certain obligations.

Partners from existing or former CRCs or CRC-Ps can be partners in other CRCs or CRC-Ps. Partners do not need to commit for the entire project period. All partners must contribute resources to the CRC. We treat partners’ proposed cash and in-kind contributions equally for the purposes of calculating the maximum grant amount.

CRCs can only accept applications:

  • where you can provide a declaration from each partner on the template provided on business.gov.au.
  • where you can demonstrate the ability to at least match (in cash or in-kind) the grant funds requested.


$245M to launch Smart Satellite CRC

Defence Science and Technology is contributing $12 million through its Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) to establish a Smart Satellite Technologies and Analytics Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat CRC) which will be based in South Australia with nodes in other Australian cities.

The Department of Industry, Science and Innovation is investing $55 million in the SmartSat CRC to advance space technologies, with $190 million in cash and kind coming from nearly 100 partners in industry, universities and overseas space agencies. The successful bid for the new CRC was led by the University of South Australia.

The research collaboration will deliver smart satellite systems that are Australian-designed, owned and operated to provide real-time connectivity, surveillance and sensing capability in space and over land and sea. This will include earth observation data and the power to drive industry innovation and the growth of the Internet of Things.


$74M boost for minerals processing and manufacturing CRCs

Industry-led research to improve resource extraction and support innovative manufacturing will be boosted with $74 million in Government funding for two Cooperative Research Centres (CRC).

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) will receive $34.45 million, this funding will extend the work of the CRC for ongoing activities in improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of mineral extraction to 30 June 2021.

The new Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) for Innovative Manufacturing (IM CRC) will receive $40 million over seven years to 30 June 2022 to assist Australian manufacturers to transition to high-value internationally competitive manufacturing.

Speaking at the CRC Association annual conference in Canberra on May 26, Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said CRCs will continue to be an important asset for driving greater collaboration between industry and research.