A NSW Government website

Research and Development

NSW Small Business Innovation & Research program

The Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) program is a $24 million initiative of the NSW Government that provides competitive grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and commercialise innovative solutions to well-defined problems for NSW Government agencies.

2022 SBIR program

Up to $12 million is allocated for the SBIR program 2022 Round. Expressions of Interest are now closed for NSW Government departments and agencies to submit challenge proposals.

The 2022 SBIR program challenges will be announced shortly.

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.

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.

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.

SBIR  Expert Panel

Expert Panel


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

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.