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Research and Development

NSW Small Business Innovation & Research program

Successful grant recipients for feasibility studies in the second round of the Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) program have now been announced. 

SBIR Round 2 Feasibility study grant recipients

The Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) program is a competitive phased grants program. The SBIR program involves NSW Government agencies posing challenges that they are not able to adequately address with existing approaches or commercially available technologies. NSW Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) apply to the SBIR program with their proposed solution. Participating SMEs receive grants to work with the agency to solve the challenge. At the end of the SBIR program, agencies are encouraged to pilot the technology at scale and consider procurement.

The SBIR program is administered by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (OCSE).

The SBIR program has three phases:

  • Phase 1 – Feasibility study: An SME submits a proposal to solve one of the 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.

Each phase of the SBIR program is competitive and not all SMEs will proceed through all phases.

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.

Challenge statements

NSW SMEs must apply with a proposed solution to address one of the SBIR challenges. Each challenge describes a current NSW Government agency problem requiring an innovative solution that is not already commercially available.

Seven challenges have been released for the 2022 SBIR round (Round 2):


The NSW SBIR Program Guidelines for Round 2 are available here: NSW SBIR Program Guidelines (released 2022)

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.

NOTE: Important dates for Round 2 of the SBIR program have been revised and are updated below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for the 2022 SBIR program are available here: 2022 SBIR Program FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for the 2022 SBIR program challenges are available below:

SBIR Expert Panel

The SBIR assessment process is overseen by the SBIR Expert Panel.

Important dates

November 2023

Feasibility study grants are awarded

December 2023

Feasibility studies commence

February / March 2024

Feasibility studies are completed and grantees are invited to apply for proof of concept grants

June 2024

Proof of concept projects commence


You can contact the SBIR team at: sbir@chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au

If you would like to receive further information about the SBIR program and future programs and activities run by OCSE, please register using this form to be added to the mailing list.


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Information for NSW Government agencies

The OCSE welcomes expressions of interest from NSW Government agencies to participate in future rounds of the SBIR program. Benefits of the SBIR program for NSW Government agencies include:

  • Funding from the OCSE for innovation activities to solve real problems faced by the agency.
  • A proven pathway to support the testing, trialing and purchasing of innovative solutions outside for high-risk / high-return technologies.
  • The opportunity to work directly and collaboratively with NSW SMEs, inventors, researchers and entrepreneurs.
  • Grant management support from the OCSE to assist the efficient administration of innovation activities.

2021 SBIR Program (Round 1)

Round 1 of the SBIR program was launched in 2021 and provided $12 million in grants to NSW SMEs to solve five challenges. Further details are available on the 2021 SBIR program page.