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Research and Development

NSW Small Business Innovation & Research program

NOTE: The Small Business Innovation & Research program Feasibility Study application window has been extended until 9.59am Tuesday 14 March 2023.

The 2022 Small Business Innovation & Research program (SBIR) Round Two Challenges have been announced and the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (OCSE) is now accepting Feasibility study grant applications.

SBIR program challenges are well-defined problems currently faced by the NSW Government, which require innovative technologies that are not yet commercially available. The SBIR program will assist challenge agencies to identify solutions, assess technology feasibility and pilot, trial and demonstrate the solution to develop a commercial product.

Up to $12 million is allocated for the 2022 SBIR program round.

Companies will first apply for a Feasibility study grant of up to $100,000 for a project of up to three months.

Companies which successfully complete a feasibility study will then have the opportunity to apply and be assessed for a further proof-of-concept grant of up to $1,000,000 to carry out a more in-depth demonstration of their solution’s ability to meet the needs of the challenge agency through a project of up to 15 months,

Challenge statements

Proposed solutions address one of the 2022 SBIR challenges. Each challenge describes a current NSW Government agency problem requiring an innovative solution.

Seven challenges have been defined for the 2022 SBIR round:

Webinars and Challenge Frequently Asked Questions

OCSE and the relevant NSW Government agency have recorded a webinar for each challenge, outlining the program requirements, process and what each agency is looking for. A summary of FAQs for each program is also provided. These are available to view below.

Health Waste Recovery and Management Challenge - NSW Health

Waste Recovery and Management Challenge FAQ

Biosecurity Response Capacity Challenge – DPI

Biosecurity Surveillance Challenge FAQ

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Services – NSW Health

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Services Challenge FAQ

Recycled Content Verification Challenge – OECC

Recycled Content Verification Challenge FAQ

School Zones Alerting System Challenge – TfNSW

School Zones Alerting System Challenge FAQ

Urban Heat Island Challenge – GCC

Urban Heat Island Challenge FAQ

Vital Sign Monitoring Challenge – CSNSW

Vital Sign Monitoring Challenge FAQ

Application Form

2022 NSW SBIR Round 2 Online Application Form


2022 NSW SBIR Program Guidelines

The Guidelines set out:

  1. The eligibility and assessment criteria
  2. How we assess applications
  3. How we notify applicants and enter into grant agreements with grantees
  4. How we monitor and evaluate performance
  5. Responsibilities and expectations in relation to the opportunity.

Program Frequently Asked Questions


SBIR Expert Panel

Expert Panel

Important Dates

23 November 2022

Phase 1: Feasibility study applications open

December 2022

Webinars are hosted for each SBIR program challenge

14 March 2023

Phase 1: Feasibility study applications close

April 2023

Applications are assessed for Phase 1: Feasibility study

May 2023

Grants awarded and Phase 1: Feasibility studies commence

August 2023

Feasibility studies are completed, pitch event is held, and grantees are invited to apply for Phase 2: Proof of concept

October 2023

Phase 2: Proof of concept projects commence


Further questions can be submitted to: sbir@chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au

About the SBIR program

The establishment of the SBIR program was recommended as a Priority Action of the Turning ideas into jobs: Accelerating research & development in NSW Action Plan. The program is modelled on similar successful Australian and international examples.

The SBIR program is designed to:

  • Leverage the capacity of NSW SMEs and R&D to solve important problems for the NSW Government
  • Drive jobs and industry growth and support the development of innovative products and services in NSW.

The benefits of the SBIR program for NSW SMEs include:

  • Up to $1.1 million in grant funding to develop and commercialise a new technology or service
  • Working with the NSW Government to pilot and test solutions
  • Potential NSW Government contracts for successful solutions
  • Retaining intellectual property rights and the right to commercialise and sell solutions in domestic and global markets.

View the SBIR program one-page information sheet

The SBIR program is managed by R&D NSW within Investment NSW, with the support of other NSW Government agencies.

The SBIR program has three phases:

Phase 1 – Feasibility study: An SME submits a proposal to solve one of the five SBIR program challenges. The proposals are assessed, with each successful applicant receiving a grant of up to $100,000 to conduct a feasibility study over a period of three months.

Phase 2 – Proof of concept: Successful feasibility study grantees are invited to apply for the proof-of-concept phase. Applications are assessed and each successful proof-of-concept grantee will receive up to $1,000,000 to develop a proof of concept over a period of up to 15 months.

Phase 3 – Procurement: NSW Government agencies will consider purchasing successful solutions.

Not all SME applications will proceed through all phases.

NSW Government Agencies

Benefits of being an SBIR challenge agency include:

  • additional funding revenue with a dedicated grants management team to support innovation and technology commercialisation to solve real problems faced by the agency
  • pathway to test, trial and purchase innovative solutions outside the standard procurement process for high-risk and high-return investment in new technologies
  • the opportunities to work directly and collaboratively with NSW SMEs, inventors, researchers and entrepreneurs to develop cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions
  • having access to additional resources and support through the SBIR program and team throughout the solution development journey.

2021 SBIR program

The first round of the SBIR program was launched in June 2021, providing up to $12 million in grants to NSW SMEs to solve the five challenges: koala counting, connectivity, hyperlocal navigation, personal protective equipment recycling and water purification. Further details are available on the 2021 SBIR program page.

The 2021 challenges attracted strong interest from NSW SMEs and 17 applications were successful, each receiving funding up to $100,000 each to complete a feasibility study.

The successful grant recipients for the 2021 SBIR program.