Innovation Connections

Innovation Connections is a service under the AusIndustry Entrepreneurs' Programme that provides you with advice and funding to get research projects underway in your business. 
Application detail:

You can apply for Innovation Connections at any time.

What do you get?

You’ll be paired with an independent facilitator. Your facilitator will make recommendations for your research project, connect you with research institutions and help you apply for a grant to fund your researchers.

Who is this for?

Businesses working within, or supporting, one of the growth sectors who want to research an idea with commercial potential.


Innovation Connections has 2 key stages:

  • facilitation stage, which connects you with a facilitator
  • grant stage, to fund your researcher placement.

Your facilitator will work with you and give recommendations for your business and potential research project.

Innovation Connections facilitation is provided at no cost to your business. However, you will need to invest your time to maximise your engagement. You may need to commit resources such as staff, facilities or equipment depending on the nature of the project.

To speak to someone about your specific circumstances, contact an Innovation Facilitator in your state. Our delivery partner providing innovation services nationally is CSIRO.

Your facilitator will develop an Innovation Connections Roadmap, with recommendations and a plan for your research project. The roadmap will identify:

  • business opportunities such as technology, information technology, new markets, advanced materials, testing and prototyping facilities
  • critical research areas for improvement including products, processes or services
  • strategic research opportunities into new or existing markets
  • ways for your business to work with the research sector
  • options to access science, technology, engineering and mathematics expertise, including by promoting research organisations’ work integrated learning initiatives.

To action the recommendations in your roadmap and get your research project started, you can apply for up to 3 different Innovation Connections grants. Your grants will reimburse you for up to 50% of the cost of your researcher placements, up to the maximum amount agreed.

  • Up to $50,000 for a researcher to develop and implement a new idea with commercial potential in your business.
  • Up to $50,000 for one of your researchers to work in a Publicly Funded Research Organisation and access their research infrastructure.
  • Up to $30,000 for the placement of a graduate or post graduate researcher within your business to collaborate on your project with a Publicly Funded Research Organisation.

You can only apply for a grant if your facilitator recommends it.

When you apply for the grant, you’ll need to fund the total cost of the project and researcher placements before being reimbursed, without using in-kind contributions or other government grants or programs.

Your facilitator will continue to provide support throughout the grant process, if needed.


You can apply if your business meets the eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria are a set of rules that describe who we can consider for this opportunity. You can apply for facilitation if you:

  • have an eligible business structure
  • operate in, or support, one of Australia's growth sectors.

Your business will:

  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • be registered for goods and services tax (GST)
  • be a company, incorporated in Australia or an incorporated trustee applying on behalf of a trust.

Your business will also have:

  • the intent and opportunity to engage in, contribute to or increase trade in Australian markets and/or markets in other countries
  • operated in Australia and filed business activity statements showing ongoing trading in at least 3 consecutive years.

Your business will have annual turnover or operating expenditure in 1 of the last 3 financial years between:

  • $1.5 million and $100 million
  • $750,000 and $100 million if your business is located in remote or northern Australia.

You are not eligible to apply if you are operating as:

  • an individual
  • a partnership
  • a trust (however, an incorporated trustee may apply on behalf of a trust)
  • a Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government body (including government business enterprises).

Your business will operate in, or support, one of Australia’s growth sectors, which are:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • food and agribusiness
  • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
  • mining equipment, technology and services
  • oil, gas and energy resources.

Support services

Businesses that provide support services to drive business growth or improve business competitiveness through a direct commercial relationship in the growth sectors include:

  • freight and logistics
  • infrastructure related construction and services
  • information and communications technologies
  • digital technologies
  • professional services.

Support services excludes routine business operational activities such as legal advice, financial accounting/bookkeeping services, catering and insurance.

For the full eligibility criteria, including grant eligibility, see the Customer information guide.

Customer information guide

Customer information guide

pdf · 0.55 MB docx · 0.39 MB

Apply now

You can submit your application through the online portal. You’ll need to set up an account when you first log in.

Apply for Innovation Connections facilitation

Before applying, make sure you:

  • read the customer information guide
  • have all the information and attachments ready
  • can address all eligibility criteria.
Apply Now

We know many businesses have concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on grant applications and grant management. When applying for a grant, consider timeframes and constraints that may impact grant activities due to COVID-19.

If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to meet the obligations of your grant agreement, to discuss your circumstances and how we can assist you, you should contact:

You can find further COVID-19 government financial assistance and support for Australian businesses on our coronavirus information and support for business page.

Applications are assessed continuously, as they are made. We’ll notify you of the outcome within 10 working days of receipt of your complete application.

If your application is approved, a facilitator will contact you to discuss your facilitation service and help you develop your roadmap. They may need access to business information and key personnel to address knowledge gaps or technical needs. They'll also discuss your options for a grant, your eligibility and how to apply.


Need help?

Let us answer your question via phone, email or live chat. And if we can't help, we'll put you in touch with someone who can.

  • Phone:
  • Open Hours:
    Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm across Australia
  • Website:

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

Innovation Connections is part of AusIndustry’s Entrepreneurs' Programme, which transforms Australian businesses by providing access to expert advice and grants.

Our program services will help you to:

  • strengthen and grow your business
  • connect with the research sector
  • get your idea to market
  • access grants to make it happen (from $20,000 to $1 million).

At the heart of the program lies our national network of facilitators. Entrepreneurs’ Programme facilitators are local, independent business experts who will work with you on your business.