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Research and Development

NSW Small Business Innovation & Research program

The NSW 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.

The 2021 SBIR program will provide up to $12 million in grants to NSW SMEs to solve the five NSW Government challenges listed below.

A further $12 million will be made available for the 2022 round.

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.

Feasibility Study Grant Recipients

The successful grant recipients for the 2021 SBIR program have now been announced.

2021 SBIR program Feasibility Study Grant Recipients

Challenge statements

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

Five challenges have been defined for the 2021 SBIR program:

A new set of SBIR program challenges will be released in the first half of 2022.


R&D NSW hosted a webinar for each challenge in July 2021. Each webinar described the SBIR program and the challenge, and provided an opportunity for prospective applicants to ask questions about both. Click the links below to view a recording of a previous webinar.

How to apply

Applications for the 2021 SBIR program closed on Sunday 29 August 2021.

A new set of SBIR program challenges will be released in the first half of 2022.


Before applying, all applicants should read:

2021 NSW SBIR Program Guidelines

The Guidelines set out:

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2021 NSW SBIR Program FAQs

NSW SBIR Program Expert Panel

NSW SBIR Program Expert Panel

Important dates

A new set of SBIR program challenges will be released in the first half of 2022.


Please review the SBIR program FAQs before contacting us.

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