Who is eligible to apply?
All NSW-based individuals, research organisations and commercial enterprises are eligible to apply to the Bushfire Commercialisation Fund (BCF).
An individual will need to establish a legal entity and have an Australian Business Number before entering into a legally binding funding agreement with the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (OCSE).
A NSW public research organisation can apply to the BCF through its appropriate Technology Transfer Office, CEO or equivalent. However, the research group must become a separate commercial entity before entering into a legally binding funding agreement with the OCSE.
Only one organisation or individual can apply to the BCF. There must be only one lead organisation or individual who will enter into a legally binding funding agreement with the OCSE. Other organisations can partner with the lead applicant on the project and collaborative partnerships are encouraged.
Government agencies (Commonwealth, state or territory, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) are not eligible to receive funding. Government agencies can collaborate with the lead applicant on the project.
Not based in NSW?
To receive funding, applicants must be headquartered in NSW and demonstrate that most of the activity will be based in NSW (e.g. location of manufacturing jobs, headquarters in NSW, testing and analysis etc). However, we acknowledge that NSW may not have all the required capabilities and capacity for your project to succeed and some of the funding may be expended outside NSW. You should be able to justify why some activity may take place outside NSW and describe the economic, environmental and social benefits to NSW.
What devices or systems are eligible for funding?
The BCF aims to assist with the rapid development of technologies and services to sense, fight, mop up after and protect from bushfires.
Under the BCF, a device is something made or adapted to solve a problem related to bushfire prevention, preparation, mitigation, or recovery, including equipment and hardware. Systems can include software applications and processes.
The BCF aims to enable NSW businesses to progress innovative bushfire technology devices or systems along the commercialisation pathway or adapt existing technology for use in bushfire management or operations, through the provision of competitive grant funding.
Further information about the BCF can be found in the guidelines.
Devices or systems that are eligible for the Physical Sciences Fund (PSF) may be eligible to receive funding from the Bushfire Commercialisation Fund where it can demonstrated that any funding from the PSF does not duplicate activities in the BCF application and is unique to commercialise bushfire-related technology.
What is the Technology Readiness Level (TRL)? What are some examples of projects that would be eligible?
The TRL estimates the maturity of an innovation by considering the technological concepts and requirements and demonstrated capabilities of your innovation. You will be required to estimate the TRL of your innovation using the table in Appendix A of the guidelines and the preliminary application.
The BCF considers projects that demonstrate an estimated commercial proposition which scores between 3 and 7 on the TRL scale.
An eligible project will have a demonstrated proof of concept that requires some development or support before it can be launched to market.
If your project is developing a theory for real-world application or a prototype (scoring between 1 and 2 on the TRL), it may be too early to receive funding under the BCF. Alternatively, if your project is ready for commercialisation (TRL 9) and/or has already received significant private-sector investment, it may be too mature to receive funding under the BCF.
Applicants with technology that has achieved a TRL of 6 should strongly consider applying for the Bushfire Technology Pilots Program (BTPP). The BTPP aims to pilot field-ready technology with NSW bushfire management and response agencies.
What is a good application?
A good application will demonstrate:
- an innovative bushfire device or system that aims to solve a well-defined problem
- the potential to deliver significant economic, social and/or environmental benefit to NSW
- the bushfire device or system has a strong technological and scientific basis and has a prototype or proof-of-concept already completed
- the device or system is at a Technology Readiness Level of 3-7
- the applicant has a strong competitive advantage
- a clear commercialisation pathway
- strong engagement with the target market
- that substantial project activity will be based in NSW
- the project team and external partnerships will provide appropriate technological and/or scientific, business and commercial expertise
- a clear need for funding and targeted application of funding.
How does the funding work?
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 OCSE.
If the project achieves a specified level of economic success, you will be required to repay the grant to the OCSE. The specific terms of repayment will be agreed to as part of the contract negotiations, based on financial information you provide to the OCSE and an independent financial advisor. Repayment of the grant to the OCSE will assist the BCF to maintain a sustainable grant program to promote further innovations.
Repayment is only triggered if the project reaches the specified level of economic success.
Who will assess my application? What is the assessment process?
The assessment of BCF applications is a staged process:
Eligibility screening by OCSE Secretariat
- Only applications which meet all eligibility criteria as outlined in the guidelines will progress to the next phase.
Assessment and shortlisting by the BCF Subcommittee
- Eligible preliminary applications will be assessed against the selection criteria outlined in the guidelines. Only applications that demonstrate they meet all the criteria will progress to the next stage.
Interviews of shortlisted applicants by the Expert Panel
- Shortlisted applicants will be invited to make a short presentation followed by questions from the Expert Panel. The Expert Panel will evaluate applicants interviewed and shortlisted applicants will progress to the final stage.
Final assessment and recommendations for funding by Expert Panel
- Applicants complete a final application form comprising of more detailed financial information, and additional questions. The Expert Panel conducts a final assessment based on all criterion and determine which applications will be recommended for grant funding.
Can I apply if I already have funding from another source?
Yes, you can apply if you already have funding from another source(s).
You should clearly demonstrate in your application what the BCF funding will be used for and why the funding is necessary to help you to commercialise your device/system. The BCF Expert Panel may not support projects where it deems that funding from the BCF is not necessary to commercialise the technology.
If you are successful and receive funding from the inaugural BCF funding round, you can apply again.
If I am unsuccessful this round, can I reapply?
Yes, unsuccessful applicants can reapply to the BCF.
Additional NSW Government funding programs and support:
I need help developing my idea. Where can I go for support?
There are many university accelerators, technology transfer offices and early-stage funds in NSW that may be available to you. Some of these include:
At OCSE, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We encourage people with disability to apply. If you have disability and require more information on adjustments and assistance to apply, please contact us. Assistance in completing this application can be found at Communities and Justice, People with disability Australia or Legal Aide