Clean Technology Research and Development Grants Program

Grants for early stage research and development of innovative technologies, services or processes that will help decarbonise NSW industries.

Expressions of interest closed at 5 pm (AEDT) on Friday 9 December 2022.

What's new for round 2?

The program has undergone some changes based on learnings and stakeholder feedback from round 1. The main changes are:

  • simplified online submission process that allows for collaborative development of submissions offline
  • reduced Expression of Interest length
  • increased available funding pool
  • reduced maximum grant amount of $3 million
  • opportunity for applicant interviews at the full application stage.

Purpose of the grant

The purpose of the $40 million Clean Technology Innovation Research and Development Grants Program is to invest in research and development of commercially viable technologies, services or processes that have the potential to significantly reduce emissions of high emitting or hard-to-abate sectors within the NSW economy up to, and beyond, 2030.

The overarching objective of this program is to support early-stage clean technology research and development projects that help to foster a healthy Research and development ecosystem within New South Wales. In practical terms, this means supporting projects that:

  • are in the range of Technology Readiness Level 2 to 6 (see Appendix 1 in program guidelines)
  • seek to develop innovative solutions to decarbonising high-emitting or hard-to-abate industries within the program priority areas
  • have the potential to make a substantial contribution to the NSW Government goal of reducing emissions by 70% by 2035 and achieving net zero by 2050
  • are likely to have net positive environmental impacts (e.g., when considering other factors like embodied carbon and supply chain impacts)
  • promote and actively engage in cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary partnerships and knowledge sharing.

This objective supports the ultimate mission to create an environment in New South Wales where innovation is supported so new technologies are domestically developed, tested and used in the market. This will position New South Wales as a leading investment destination and unlocks export opportunities in coming decades.

Round 2 priorities

The grants will be awarded via 4 annual funding rounds. Annual funding priorities will be guided by the NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer Decarbonisation Innovation Study. Priorities for round 2 are:

  • Electrification and Energy Systems – accelerating renewable energy solutions and supporting the uptake of electrification in other sectors
  • Land and Primary Industries – coordinating and aligning efforts in the next wave of sustainable primary industry practices as the sector contributes significant proportions of NSW emissions
  • Power Fuels including Hydrogen – growing an environmentally sustainable NSW powerfuels industry and unlocking decarbonisation opportunities for many hard-to-abate sectors beyond 2030.

If your project falls outside of the 3 priorities, please contact the Environmental Trust on (02) 8837 6093 or before submitting an Expression of Interest.

Funding available

Total allocation for round 2 (2022) Minimum grant size Maximum grant size Maximum project duration
Up to $14,000,000 $400,000 $3,000,000 3 years

Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program

The Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program is the NSW Government's plan to support and partner with industry to reduce emissions and help NSW businesses prosper in a low carbon world. By accelerating the development of clean technology and decarbonisation, we will grow the economy, support jobs and significantly reduce emissions.

The program is part of the NSW Government's NSW Government's Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030 to reduce emissions by 70% by 2035 and achieve net zero by 2050.

The program has 3 areas of focus:

  • Clean Technology Innovation
  • New Low Carbon Industry Foundations
  • High Emitting Industries.

The Clean Technology Innovation focus area aims to create an environment in New South Wales where innovation is supported so new technologies are domestically developed, tested and utilised in the market.

Who can apply?

Grants are open to public and private sector organisations that have applied expertise in clean technology innovation. Each organisation can submit a maximum of 3 Expressions of interest per grant round. The grant guidelines contain further information on eligibility.

Application process

The application and assessment process will take place in 2 stages:

  1. Expressions of Interest (EOI)
  2. Full applications.

Expressions of interest will be assessed by a Technical Review Committee. Shortlisted Expressions of interest will progress to stage 2 to submit a full application.

Full applications will also be assessed by a Technical Review Committee who will provide recommendations on grants to the Environmental Trust Board. The Environmental Trust Board will make final decisions for awarding grants, taking into consideration recommendations from the Technical Review Committee.

Are hydrogen projects eligible for this grant program, or will they be dealt with separately under the $3 billion NSW Hydrogen Strategy announcement on 13 October 2021?

Hydrogen projects that are within Technology Readiness Levels 2-6 and have significant carbon abatement potential for a high emitting or hard-to-abate sector are eligible for funding under this program. For more detail on the three priority areas covered by this grant, please refer to the grant guidelines and the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Study.

Will the Technical Review Committee include expertise across the 3 priority areas?

The Technical Review Committee will have expertise across the priority areas, as well as from a range of sectors. The Trust will procure additional technical expertise and information to support the Technical Review Committee as required.

What are the expectations regarding the knowledge sharing requirement of the program?

Applicants are required to demonstrate that they have suitable networks or forums for sharing and extending the outcomes and learnings of their research to the benefit of the clean technology innovation community. Examples may include sharing outcomes at conferences, via peak industry groups, and through the Clean Technology Innovation and Net Zero Industry and Innovation networks.

Will the department be actively fostering the ecosystem and connections between projects and connections to industry?

Yes. Collaboration and connection from research and development through to commercialisation is critical and underpins the objectives of the Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program. The technologies developed under these grants should ultimately support decarbonisation in high emitting and hard-to-abate industries in New South Wales.

The Decarbonisation Innovation Hub, will support researchers, industry and government stakeholders in critical sectors to collaborate, and increase the uptake of new technologies in decarbonising New South Wales. The Decarbonisation Innovation Hub will establish partnerships and enhance engagement across the priority areas.

Are collaborative projects between entities from different sectors encouraged?

Yes. Promoting collaboration is a key objective of the program, so we welcome applications with cross-sectoral partnerships. Applicants should showcase the strength of their project's collaboration as part of their application.

Why are Expressions of Interests limited to 3 per organisation?

To ensure the best applications are received, we expect organisations to self-assess which of their potential projects are their three strongest. We expect all applications to be coordinated and/or authorised through a central point in the lead organisation.

If you have any feedback on the number of applications, you can provide your feedback to the Environmental Trust.

Does the limit of 3 Expressions of Interest apply to the lead applicant only?

Yes, the Expression of Interest limit applies only to lead applicants. An organisation may be a partner on more than 3 Expression of Interests.

What is the average funding size expected for the projects?

The funding amount for each project will depend on the size and scope of the project.

If projects are not funded in round 2, can they be re-submitted in future rounds?

Yes, projects not funded in round one can reapply in future rounds. Projects will not automatically be carried forward into future rounds.

At what stage will a project need to demonstrate that matched funding is available Can a grant be conditional on a project successfully raising the matched funding?

Matched funding should be confirmed by the time a full application is submitted. If there is likely to be a delay in confirming matched funds, you should advise Trust staff as early as possible. The Trust will not enter into a funding agreement unless matched funding is confirmed.

Can historical contributions (cash or in-kind) be considered as part of an application's matched funding?

No. Only new contributions will be considered.

Can the matched funding be all in-kind?

No. Matched funding can be all cash or a combination of cash and in-kind. Higher cash contributions will be considered favourably.

Can existing staff count as a matched cash contribution?

No. Existing staff that are redirected to work on a Trust-funded project will be considered an in-kind contribution.

Are there any limitations regarding the source of matched cash contributions? For example, are only industry cash contributions accepted, or would university cash contributions be accepted too?

Matched cash contributions can be from any source. Matched funding must be confirmed prior to grants being awarded and the conditions or requirements of matched funding must be compatible with these grants.

Are applicants able to apply for other Australian Government grants?

Applicants are welcome to submit applications that have also accessed other government funding. Applicants must clearly demonstrate the contribution of this grant to their project.