Clean Technology Research and Development Grants Program

Grants for early stage development of new low emissions technologies, services or processes.

Expressions of interest for 2021 have closed.

Read the 2021 Program Guidelines before you apply.

2021 Program Guidelines

Expressions of interest closed at 5pm on Tuesday 23 November 2021.

Purpose of the grant

How does this grants program fit within the broader Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030?

The $750 million Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program is part of the NSW Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030 to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. This program will drive the next wave of low emissions technologies and innovation and ensure industry in New South Wales remains resilient and competitive in a low carbon global economy.

The $195 million Clean Technology Innovation is one of 3 focus areas in the Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program. It aligns with priority 3 of the Net Zero Plan Stage 1 2020–2030: Investing in the next wave of emissions reduction innovation, by supporting the development and continued innovation of emerging clean technologies.

The $40 million Clean Technology Research and Development Grants program is a component of Clean Technology Innovation. This grant supports the development of commercially viable technologies and services to reduce emissions in high emitting or hard-to-abate industries.

Eligibility

What types of technology does the Grants program support?

The program seeks to fund early stage development of new technologies or services that lower carbon emissions in industry.

Prioritisation of funding for clean technologies will be guided by the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer's Decarbonisation Innovation Study with priority areas including:

  • 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
  • Power Fuels including Hydrogen – growing an environmentally sustainable NSW power fuels industry.

The types of technologies supported by the program have been informed by the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Study. The study will be updated every 2 years to ensure it remains current as the clean technology ecosystem evolves domestically and internationally.

Proposals of clearly established outstanding merit (e.g. those that deliver significant emission reductions at very low cost) that demonstrably cannot fit within standard program funding may be considered for funding on an exceptional basis (by the Trust's Technical Review Committee and ultimately the Trust Board). Consideration would be in strict accordance with strong probity, evaluation and governance procedures.

What projects are eligible for funding?

Project are generally eligible to apply for funding if:

  • they align with the program priorities areas
  • they fall within Technology Readiness Levels 2-6
  • they have significant carbon abatement potential in a high emitting or hard-to-abate sector in New South Wales
  • there are likely to be decarbonisation and/or economic benefits in New South Wales.

For further information about the priority areas, please read the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Study. For further information about eligibility, please read the Clean Technology Research and Development Grants Program Guidelines.

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?

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.

The guidelines say the proposed technology, service and/or processes of the project must not be covered by existing IP. There may be existing IP (e.g. provisional patent) that requires a lot more research and development to enable translation. Are these projects eligible?

Yes. The eligibility criteria related to existing IP only exclude projects where the research and development has already been undertaken for established technology or projects where an applicant proposes research and development on (or that utilises) IP they do not have legal rights to.

Technical Review Committee

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.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing

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.

Expression of Interest limits

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.

Funding availability and allocation

What is the total funding available for round 1 and what is the maximum grant amount?

There is $5 million available for grants in round 1 and the maximum amount for a single grant is $4 million. The minimum amount for a single grant is $400,000.

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 1, 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.

Matched funding

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.

Interaction with other programs

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.

An information session about the program was held on Wednesday 13 October. You can view the recording below:

Purpose

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 potential to significantly reduce emissions of high emitting or hard-to-abate sectors within the NSW economy up to, and beyond, 2030.

The objectives of the grants are to:

  • support and progress early stage clean technology research and development where a clear market opportunity has been identified
  • promote collaboration and knowledge sharing.

These objectives support 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.

2021 priorities

The grants will be awarded via 6 annual funding rounds. Annual funding priorities will be guided by the NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer Decarbonisation Innovation Study. Priorities for 2021 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.

Proposals of clearly established outstanding merit (e.g. those that have the potential to deliver significant emission reductions at very low cost) that demonstrably cannot fit within the grant round priorities can be discussed further with the department.

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

Funding available

Total allocation for round 1 (2021) Minimum grant size Maximum grant size Maximum project duration
$5,000,000 $400,000 $4,000,000 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 50% by 2030 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.

Round 1 Expressions of interest closed at 5pm on Tuesday 23 November 2021.