Innovation Districts COVID-19 R&D Challenges

NSW Government is seeking to support businesses to accelerate the commercialisation of research products and services that address the many disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To achieve this, NSW Treasury is working with universities and CSIRO, partners in the Boosting Business Innovation Program, to hold three rounds of challenges in innovation districts across NSW

Innovation district partners

Australian Catholic UniversityUniversity of Newcastle
Charles Sturt UniversityUniversity of New South Wales
CSIROUniversity of Sydney
Macquarie UniversityUniversity of Technology Sydney
Southern Cross UniversityUniversity of Wollongong
University of New EnglandWestern Sydney University

These innovation district partners will identify businesses with connections in their area, either through research relationships or physical location, which have high-potential products or services that can address the challenge statement.

Each challenge will be defined by a problem statement that relates to COVID-19 and its impact on the people of NSW. The challenge statements, and the key dates for each round, will be made available on 

Funding opportunities that are available

The total funding pool available for each Challenge round is $500,000. Innovation district partners will nominate the top three eligible applicants in their area to be assessed and ranked for grant funding.

Highest ranked applicant

Second-highest ranked applicant

Third-highest ranked applicant

Highest ranked applicant in each Innovation District that is not one of the statewide overall recipients x 12

Business eligibility criteria

To be eligible, businesses must have:

  • an ABN registered in NSW and is based in NSW
  • fewer than 200 employees
  • operated for at least 12 months, based on date of ABN registration
  • at least $75,000 in sales revenue within the last 12 months
  • a product or service (which may still be in development) that directly addresses the impact of COVID-19 that it intends to market within 12 months
  • ownership that is at least 75 per cent Australian and is not more than 50 per cent owned by another business

Further requirements and exclusions are outlined in the Guidelines available at

How to apply

Apply through your innovation district partner.

Contact your innovation district partner for more information on how to apply.

If your business is eligible, you may be invited to progress to stage two assessment.


Time until the Innovation District C19 R&D Challenge applications are due!