A NSW Government website

Natural Hazards STEM Support Program

FAQ

What is the NSW Natural Hazards STEM Support Program?

The Natural Hazards STEM Support Program (the Program) aims to enhance STEM outreach in schools.

The Program targets NSW school children from Kindergarten to Year 12, focusing on technology education relevant to natural hazard management and response.

This initiative is a response by the NSW Government to deliver STEM-focused education programs covering natural hazards to improve student learning outcomes and build resilience in communities.

The program is designed to:

  • enhance STEM education and skill development for K–12 students in NSW
  • focus on technologies that are directly relevant to the management and response of natural hazards, creating a bridge between theoretical learning and practical application
  • motivate and empower an emerging cohort of technologists
  • build awareness of natural hazards management and response
  • cultivate an environment that empowers and inspires students to pursue careers in the field of natural hazards management as technologists, innovators, and problem-solvers.

How does the Program work?

The Program welcomes the participation of both established and pilot educational programs. Successful initiatives are responsible for either directly delivering these educational modules to students or providing essential training to school staff and educators.

The Program application is a two-stage process:

Stage 1 – Eligibility assessment:

The Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (OCSE) will conduct an initial eligibility screening for all applications according to the published eligibility criteria in the Program Guidelines.

Only applications which meet all eligibility criteria will progress to assessment against the assessment criteria. OCSE will record the ineligible applicants and will report the number of ineligible applications and reasons for their ineligibility to the Assessment Panel (Panel).

Stage 2 – Assessment of eligible applications:

The Panel will assess eligible applications before recommending which applications should be awarded grant funding.

The membership of the Panel will be determined by OCSE in its sole discretion and will include experts in natural hazards education for school students, STEM and NSW Education curriculum. The Panel will be chaired by an independent person with experience in natural hazards education for school students.

What funding is available?

The NSW Government announced a total of ​$800,000​ for one round of the ​Natural Hazards STEM Support Program​ in 2023/24 to be delivered in year 2024/25 and beyond based on the project plan.

An applicant can apply for a maximum of $400,000.

How is funding distributed?

The NSW Government will enter into a funding agreement with each successful applicant. The funding agreement will lay out the eligible expenditure, which will include direct costs of the project and eligible labour expenditure. The lead applicant will be responsible for distributing the funding to any partners or contractors in accordance with the proposal and funding agreement.

If you are successful, the funding amount will be provided to your organisation in a single payment, following the execution of a funding deed between you and the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade.

Can I apply if I already have funding from another source? 

OCSE cannot award a grant if you are already receiving funding from another government source for the identical purpose, unless your application for this Program aims to enhance the funded initiative’s outreach and expand its coverage. For example, if you have received funding for a pilot project, you may apply under this Program to extend its reach to additional areas, thereby broadening its impact.

Is the NSW Natural Hazards STEM Support Program competitive?

Yes, applications are competitively assessed against assessment criteria.

What are the assessment criteria? 

Applications will be evaluated against the following assessment criteria and weighting:

  • Project impact and scope in inspiring and enabling student participation and understanding of STEM in relation to natural hazards response, and management (25%)
  • Understanding of best practice student learning outcomes (25%)
  • Track record of relevant delivery, experience, or expertise in delivering STEM programs in schools (25%)
  • Project delivery plan (25%)

Who is eligible to apply and what are the requirements? 

To be eligible for the Program applicants must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have an account with an Australian financial institution
  • be headquartered in NSW
  • demonstrate that all project activities will take place in NSW schools
  • ensure all grant monies are used on activities undertaken to deliver the program in NSW schools
  • demonstrate alignment to content descriptions and student learning outcomes in relevant fields in the NSW curriculum for students in K-12
  • demonstrate any funding received from other NSW or other state or federal government grant programs do not duplicate activities requested under the Program.

and be one of the following entity types:

  • a company incorporated under the Corporations Act (including a company limited by guarantee)
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust
  • an incorporated association
  • a partnership
  • a registered charity or not-for-profit organisation
  • a NSW public research organisation
  • a public sector organisation or other organisation, such as a not-for-profit organisation
  • an individual who agrees to form such an entity so that DEIT can enter into a legally binding funding agreement.

OCSE, at its sole discretion, can take publicly available information about an applicant into account which may cause a business to be ineligible for support, such as any personnel or business activities that could cause reputational damage or other risk to the NSW Government.

OCSE may seek clarification from applicants in relation to its application, including seeking further information on the eligibility or assessment criteria.

Who is not eligible to apply for the grant?

You are not eligible to apply for the Program if you are:

  • insolvent
  • an individual
  • an unincorporated association
  • part of a consortia or partnership with a business that is insolvent.

OCSE, at its sole discretion, may decide that an application is ineligible for funding. This may include any person or business activity that could cause reputational and/or other risks to the NSW Government.

What is the application process?

To apply you must:

  1. complete the SmartyGrants online application form at https://chiefscientist.smartygrants.com.au/
  1. provide all the information requested
  1. address all the eligibility criteria
  1. address all the relevant assessment criteria
  1. include all necessary attachments
  1. submit your application by the timelines outlined in the Guidelines.

Note:

  • the application must be completed in its entirety to be eligible for consideration
  • clearly mark any information that should be treated confidentially
  • all eligible applicants will be assessed on merit against the assessment criteria. However, OCSE, at its discretion, may choose not to award or recommend funding to applicants under the Program.

What are eligible grant activities?

For a grant activity to be eligible it must demonstrate a direct and robust alignment with the NSW curriculum. This includes:

  • For secondary education proposals, there should be a focus on STEM, Geography, and/or iSTEM curricula.
  • For primary education, alignment with the Science and Technology curriculum is essential.
  • Alternatively, proposals can demonstrate alignment with other relevant curricula that are suitable and equivalent to the ones mentioned.

What are eligible costs?

Program funding can only be incurred on eligible activities or agreed Program activities.

To be eligible, costs must:

  • be directly related to the eligible grant activities in NSW schools
  • be incurred within the project period
  • reflect competitive market rates
  • be a true and accurate reflection of costs required to deliver the activity.

Eligible costs include, but are not limited to:

  • labour expenditure for temporary employment for the project
  • costs that may be incurred to train NSW Education staff or teachers (for example, for travel to sites)
  • licence fees incurred as part of the project
  • data analysis and/or management costs.

If your application is successful, we may ask you to verify the project cost and request evidence of costs such as supplier contracts, quotes and invoices. We may request financial reports and credit checks from independent third-party service providers.

You must demonstrate value for money by ensuring project costs are reasonable and reflective of market rates. We may use industry cost benchmarks to assess whether costs are reasonable.

OCSE will make the final decision on whether a claimed cost is eligible or reasonable (and only pay the reasonable amount).

What are ineligible costs?

The grant cannot be used for the following activities:

  • the purchase of land or property
  • costs incurred in the preparation of a grant application or related documentation
  • overseas travel
  • the covering of retrospective costs
  • wage costs incurred prior to the activity period of the project or outside of approved project activities
  • projects requiring ongoing funding from the NSW Government
  • projects that are ongoing or constitute the normal course of business
  • activities that have commenced or been completed prior to an offer of funding made to successful applicants.

When do applications close?

Applications for the Natural Hazards STEM Support Program close at 17:00 AEDT 29 March 2024.