Grand Challenge Fund

About the Grand Challenge Fund

In November 2009, the Prime Ministers of Australia and India announced a substantial increase in support for the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). As part of the expanded program, Australia and India agreed to introduce a new ‘Grand Challenge’ component, to fund projects of larger scope and scale designed to deliver tangible outcomes in areas of shared ‘grand challenge’.

Funding will be awarded on a competitive basis to consortia of one or more eligible partners from each of Australia and India for joint research projects in specified priority themes. The projects would typically run for three years and for no longer than four years. Total funding of up to AUD 3 million per project will be available to the Australian consortium. The Government of India will provide matching support to the Indian consortium.

To be competitive, applicants will need to demonstrate that:

  • their proposed research would make a significant and original contribution relevant to a challenge shared by Australia and India;
  • this contribution would be utilised by an end user (a company, government agency, NGO or other organisation), for either commercial benefit or public good (‘clear path to end use’);
  • collaboration between consortium members would be genuine and necessary to achieving expected outcomes; and
  • that the project leaders are capable of managing projects of this scale and complexity.

The Grand Challenge Fund will have a two stage application process, a call for expressions of interest (EoI), followed by successful applicants being invited to move to the second stage and submit a full application.

EoIs opened at 09:00 on 29 November 2010 and will close at 16:00 on 28 January 2011.

For those EoIs that have been shortlisted and subsequently invited to submit a full application, the full application round will be open from 9:00 (AEST) Monday 11 April and will close at 17:00 (AEST) Monday 6 June 2011.

Priority Themes

The grand challenges will be in the broad themes of ‘energy‘, ‘food and water security‘, ‘health‘ and ‘the environment‘.

The first round of the Grand Challenge Fund, which opened on 29 November 2010, will address challenges in the themes of ‘food and water security’ and ‘the environment’. The second round of the fund, addressing ‘energy’ and ‘health’ is due to open late 2011.

Given the complex nature of the challenges in these themes, multidisciplinary approaches are encouraged.

All applications within the two nominated themes for Round One will be considered, but proposals that fall within the subthemes identified below are particularly encouraged.

Food and water security

  • Integrated water resource management
  • Potable water supply
  • Plant and animal sciences
  • Dryland agriculture
  • Post-harvest management

The Environment

  • Regional climate modelling
  • Marine
  • Bioremediation


  • New and renewable
  • Fossil fuels
  • Transport


  • Metabolic disorders
  • Infectious diseases
  • Lifestyle diseases
  • Medical devices
  • Healthcare delivery

The Grand Challenge Fund guidelines and a Guide to Completing the Online Expression of Interest Form are available on the Guidelines page.

  • 2010 Guide to Online Grand Challenge Full Application Form.pdf (1595 kb)
  • 2010 Guide to Online Grand Challenge Full Application Form.doc (531 kb)

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