What is Innovation Connections?

Innovation Connections is a grant that provides up to $50,000 to help SMEs connect with researchers and foster innovation.



Australia’s collaboration on innovation between industry and the research/higher education sector is the lowest in the OECD. Australia is missing out on world first innovation, local jobs growth and global competitiveness opportunities that are stimulated by greater collaboration and workforce mobility between the industry and research sectors.



The Innovation Connections programme will:

  • provide more Facilitators so more businesses can access Australia’s innovation infrastructure, particularly in regional areas
  • make matched grants available to support graduate and postgraduate researchers placements in businesses
  • make matched grants available to support business researchers to be placed in publicly funded research organisations
  • identify opportunities to access research and development and testing facilities and develop specialised training options by working more closely with the vocational education and training sector.


Innovation Connections Facilitation

An Innovation Facilitator will help you to assess the gaps in your business knowledge and provide specialist support. There are two types of facilitations available:

  • Technology Facilitation – helps your business to identify new technology, knowledge and expertise
  • Research Facilitation – helps your business to identify critical and strategic research needs and pathways to engage and collaborate with the research sector.

At the end of the engagement, you will be provided with a Facilitation Report that outlines your business’ needs and opportunities. Based on the nature of your enquiry, the report will either recommend off-the-shelf technologies or collaborative research projects. For research projects, you will be able to apply for an Innovation Connections Grant to help co-fund the collaboration.


Innovation Connections Grant

Following a Research Facilitation, you can apply for an Innovation Connections Grant to undertake a research project that addresses the recommendations made in the Facilitation Report.

Research projects must be in collaboration with a Publicly Funded Research Organisation (PFRO) and should develop a new idea with commercial potential. Your Innovation Facilitator will help you decide which three available grants will suit your business needs:

  • Researcher Placement – placing a researcher in your business (up to a maximum of $50,000)
  • Business Researcher Placement – placing a researcher from your business into a PFRO (up to a maximum of $50,000)
  • Graduate Placement – employing a graduate or post-graduate with a relevant degree into your business to work on a specific Innovation Connections project (up to a maximum of $30,000).



Innovation Connections Facilitation

To be eligible for an Innovation Connections Facilitation, your business must:

  • be a solvent, for-profit, non-tax exempt company that is registered for GST and incorporated and operating in Australia
  • be a company with trading activities that are the majority of its overall activities
  • have filed Business Activity Statements showing ongoing trading in at least three successive years
  • have an annual turnover or operating expenditure in the current or one of the two previous financial years:
    • between $1.5 million and $100 million or
    • between $750,000 and $100 million for applicants from remote Australia or Northern Australia
  • not have received an Innovation Connections Facilitation before
  • satisfy one of the following:
    • be operating in one or more growth sectors:
      • advanced manufacturing
      • food and agribusiness
      • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
      • mining equipment, technology and services
      • oil, gas and energy resources, or
    • provide enabling technologies or services to one or more of the growth sectors, or
    • show commitment to, and have the skills, capability, intellectual property or expertise to operate in, one of the growth sectors in the future.

You cannot apply for the Innovation Connections if you are:

  • an individual
  • a partnership
  • a trust (however, an incorporated trustee that meets the trading activity requirements above may apply on behalf of a trust)
  • a Commonwealth, State or Local Government agency or body (including government business enterprises)
  • named by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an organisation that has not complied with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth).

Innovation Connections Grant

To be eligible for an Innovation Connections Grant, your business must:

  • have received an Innovation Facilitation Report
  • apply within 12 months of receiving the report
  • be able to fund the total project costs, as the grant is paid after completion of the project
  • not use in-kind contributions or funds from other government grants or programmes to cover the project costs
  • not have received a grant in the last five years, unless a supplementary grant is permitted by the Programme Guidelines.



For Innovation Connections Facilitation, applications may be made at any time.

For Innovation Connections Grant, applications must be made within 12 months of receiving an Innovation Facilitation Report.


Innovation Connections Current Recipients

Recipient Name

Value (AUD)

MICROTAU PTY. LTD.$54,378.50