Critical Technologies Challenge Program

Critical Technologies Challenge Program

What is Critical Technologies Challenge Program?

The Critical Technologies Challenge Program offers up to $500,000 for consortia to develop innovative quantum technology solutions for challenges of national significance.


Background

The Critical Technologies Challenge Program was established to propel Australia forward in addressing critical market-led challenges through advanced quantum technologies. This initiative aims to harness the capabilities of quantum technology alongside other advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics to solve significant national issues, including energy sustainability, medical diagnostics, autonomous systems communication, and resource management efficiency. By funding these innovative projects, the government seeks to enhance Australia’s competitive edge in key industries, drive technological innovation, and support the development of high-tech industries, contributing to long-term economic growth and job creation.


Objectives

The objectives of the Critical Technologies Challenge Program are to:

  • Enhance Australia’s capabilities in quantum technologies by supporting industry-led solutions that address significant, market-driven challenges.
  • Foster collaborations between Australian industry and research organisations to drive innovation and commercialisation of new technologies.
  • Strengthen the competitiveness, sustainability, and security of key sectors such as energy, healthcare, and resource management through advanced technological solutions.
  • Build a robust ecosystem that supports the growth of high-tech industries and enhances Australia’s standing in the global technology market.


Challenges


Challenge 1: Optimise the performance, sustainability, and security of energy networks.
This challenge aims to enhance the efficiency and resilience of energy distribution and management systems. Innovations may involve developing new technologies or solutions that ensure more reliable, sustainable, and secure energy networks, addressing current and future energy demands.

Challenge 2: Improve medical imaging and medical sensors to support diagnosis, treatment of disease and monitoring activities inside the human body.
This challenge focuses on advancing the technology behind medical imaging and sensors to aid in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of diseases. Solutions are expected to offer more precise and less invasive methods, improving patient outcomes and the capabilities of healthcare providers.

Challenge 3: Enhance communication with autonomous systems in varying environments.
The goal here is to develop technologies that improve the reliability and efficiency of communications between autonomous systems, such as drones and autonomous vehicles, especially in diverse and challenging environments. This could include solutions for remote operation areas, underwater, or in densely built urban settings.

Challenge 4: Optimise and reduce the impact of resource exploration, extraction, and mineral processing.
This challenge seeks to create technologies that reduce the environmental footprint of mining and resource extraction industries. Innovations should focus on improving the efficiency of these processes and reducing the impact on the environment, aiming for sustainable practices that meet industry needs without compromising ecological integrity.


Grant Opportunities


Stage 1 – Feasibility grant opportunity
The purpose of the Stage 1 Feasibility grant is to test and demonstrate the technical viability of your proposed solution or component(s) of a solution.

Stage 2 – Demonstrator grant opportunity
The purpose of the Stage 2 Demonstrator grant is to support you to build on your Stage 1 Feasibility project and produce working prototypes or demonstrations.


Eligible Entities

Applicants for the Critical Technologies Challenge Program must meet the following criteria to be eligible under the program:

  • The lead applicant must have an Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • The lead applicant must be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • The lead applicant must be an entity incorporated in Australia.
  • Consortia applications are necessary, with the lead applicant being the primary driver of the project.
  • The consortia must include at least one Australian industry-based partner and one Australian research organisation.
  • International organisations may participate as partners within the consortia.
  • The lead applicant is responsible for submitting the application on behalf of the consortia and managing the project if successful.


Eligible Expenditure

The eligible expenditure for the Critical Technologies Challenge Program are:

  • Technical Viability Assessment: Costs associated with evaluating the technical feasibility and novelty of the proposed quantum technology solution.
  • Security Evaluations: Expenses related to assessing national and cyber security issues pertinent to the proposed solution.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Costs for identifying and collaborating with potential technology end-users.
  • First Nations Business Advisor Engagement: Expenditure related to engaging and collaborating with a Supply Nation registered or certified First Nations Business Advisor.
  • Project Audit Costs: Expenses incurred for audit activities related to the project, if applicable.
  • Other Approved Activities: Costs associated with additional activities approved by the Program Delegate that align with the grant’s objectives and outcomes.


Funding

Between $100,000 and $500,000 is available for the Stage 1 Feasibility grants with funding covering up to 100% of eligible expenditure. The Australian Government has allocated a total of $35.924 million over three years for this program.

Between $1 million and $5 million is available for the Stage 2 – Demonstrator grant opportunity with up to 80% funding of eligible expenditure. You must cover the remaining project costs in cash.


Eligible Activities

Eligible expenditure for the Critical Technologies Challenge Program Stage 1 Feasibility grants include:

  • Conducting technical feasibility studies to validate the potential of quantum technology solutions.
  • Developing innovative prototypes that integrate quantum technologies.
  • Pre-commercialisation testing of quantum-enhanced products or components.
  • Organising workshops or seminars to disseminate research findings and foster industry collaboration.
  • Engaging consultants or experts to enhance the technological aspects of the project.
  • Collaborating with industry partners to align the project’s outputs with market needs.


How to get the Critical Technologies Challenge Program Stage 1 Feasibility grants

To maximise your chances of securing the Critical Technologies Challenge Program Grant, focus on three key assessment criteria. Each criterion requires a detailed, well-structured response, demonstrating the alignment of your project with program goals, the quality of your project, and your capacity to deliver. Here’s how to approach each criterion:

Assessment Criterion 1: Project Alignment with the Selected Challenge and Pathway to Market (5000 Characters)

  1. Describe the Use of Quantum Technologies:
  • Clearly explain how your project utilises quantum technologies to address the selected challenge.
  • Detail the specific quantum technologies involved and their roles in your project.
  • Example: “Our project leverages quantum computing to optimise energy network performance by providing real-time analytics and predictive maintenance.”

         2. Superiority to Existing Market Solutions:

  • Highlight how your proposal is superior to current market solutions.
  • Provide evidence or case studies showing the limitations of existing technologies and how your project offers a better alternative.
  • Example: “Unlike conventional energy management systems, our quantum-based approach offers a 50% improvement in efficiency and a 40% reduction in operational costs.”

         3. Current Technology Readiness Level (TRL):

  • Identify the current TRL of your technology.
  • TRL 4 indicates technology validated in a lab, while TRL 5 suggests technology validated in a relevant environment.
  • Example: “Our technology is currently at TRL 4, having been validated in a controlled laboratory setting.”

         4. Anticipated TRL at Project Completion:

  • State the expected TRL upon completing the Stage 1 Feasibility project.
  • Detail the steps necessary to achieve this TRL.
  • Example: “We anticipate reaching TRL 5 by the end of the project, with plans to conduct field tests and integrate feedback from industry partners.”

Assessment Criterion 2: The Quality of Your Project (5000 Characters)

  1. Research and Development Methodologies:
  • Describe the R&D methodologies you will use.
  • Include details about experimental setups, data collection, and analysis techniques.
  • Example: “Our R&D will employ a combination of quantum simulations and field tests, utilising advanced data analytics to refine our algorithms.”

        2. Role of Partners:

  • Clearly outline the roles and contributions of each partner.
  • Explain how their expertise will enhance the project’s success.
  • Example: “Our consortium includes XYZ University for theoretical research and ABC Corp for practical implementation and testing.”

        3. Building on Current Knowledge:

  • Explain how your research will build on existing knowledge and technologies.
  • Cite relevant studies or technological advancements that your project will enhance.
  • Example: “Building on recent advancements in quantum error correction, our project aims to apply these techniques to real-world energy networks.”

       4. Expected Next Steps:

  • Detail the anticipated next steps for your project after the Stage 2 Demonstrator.
  • Discuss plans for commercialisation, further development, or market introduction.
  • Example: “Post-Stage 2, we plan to pilot our solution with industry partners, followed by a full-scale market launch within two years.”

      5. Support for Diversity, Gender Equity, and First Nations Participation:

  • Describe initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion within your project.
  • Highlight specific actions to involve underrepresented groups.
  • Example: “Our project will actively recruit women and First Nations Australians through targeted outreach programs and partnerships with relevant organisations.”

Assessment Criterion 3: Capacity, Capability, and Resources to Deliver Your Project (5000 Characters)

  1. Track Record in Managing Similar Projects:
  • Provide evidence of successfully managing similar projects.
  • Include examples, outcomes, and any challenges overcome.
  • Example: “Our team previously managed a $2 million quantum computing project, delivering a 30% increase in processing efficiency.”

       2. Access to Skilled Personnel:

  • Detail your access to skilled personnel necessary for the project.
  • Highlight the qualifications and expertise of key team members.
  • Example: “Our team includes Dr. Jane Doe, a leading expert in quantum algorithms, with over 20 published papers in the field.”

       3. Necessary Infrastructure and Resources:

  • Describe the infrastructure, capital equipment, technology, and intellectual property you will utilise.
  • Ensure these resources align with the project’s requirements.
  • Example: “We have access to state-of-the-art quantum computing facilities at XYZ University, ensuring we can meet all technical needs.”

       4. Project and Risk Management Plan:

  • Outline your plan to manage and monitor the project, including risk management strategies.
  • Address national security risks and cyber security measures.
  • Example: “Our project management plan includes regular progress reviews, risk assessments, and a comprehensive cyber security protocol to protect sensitive data.”


Timing

The closing date for the Critical Technologies Challenge Program Stage 1 Feasibility grants is 2 July 2024, 5:00 PM AEST.


More Information

Source
Stage 1 – Feasibility grant opportunity Guidelines
Stage 2 Demonstrator – Grant opportunity guidelines 

Main sections of the application

Provide a detailed description of your project, including the project scope and key activities. Describe your proposed solution or component(s) that contributes to a solution and the current state of development.

Provide a summary of the expected project outcomes, including how the project will benefit your organisation and contribute to solving the identified challenge.

Describe how your project will use quantum technologies to address the selected challenge. Explain how your proposal is superior to existing market solutions, the current Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your technology, and the anticipated TRL at project completion.

Describe the research and development methodologies, the role of your partners, how your research will build on current knowledge, and the expected next steps for your project. Include how your consortia will support diversity, gender equity, and participation of First Nations Australians in the quantum industry.

Detail your track record in managing similar projects, access to skilled personnel, necessary infrastructure, capital equipment, technology, and intellectual property. Explain your plan to manage and monitor the project and risks, including national security and cyber security risks.

FAQ

The Critical Technologies Challenge Program provides funding to consortia working on market-led challenges of national significance using quantum technologies and other advanced technologies.

Eligible lead applicants include consortia that consist of at least one Australian industry-based partner and one Australian research organisation.

Eligible projects must focus on developing solutions or components that contribute to solving market-led challenges using quantum technology and must be aimed at producing a working prototype or demonstration.

Eligible expenditures include costs related to research and development, proof of concept activities, pre-commercialisation, and engagement with technology end-users.

Deadlines for application submissions vary by stage; applicants should refer to the program’s website for specific dates for Stage 1 Feasibility and Stage 2 Demonstrator grants.

Grants range from $100,000 to $5 million, depending on the stage. Stage 1 Feasibility grants can fund up to 100% of eligible expenses, while Stage 2 Demonstrator grants require co-funding.

Contact Bulletpoint, who are experts in large grant applications, to enhance your chances of success with the Critical Technologies Challenge Program.

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