To have your innovation considered by Defence you can make a submission to the Defence Innovation Hub. If this is successful you’ll then be asked to submit a more detailed proposal.

You can make a submission that aligns with Defence innovation priorities at any time. From time to time, the Defence Innovation Hub also publishes Special Notices which call for responses from industry to specific Defence requirements. Check the current opportunities and innovation priorities.

1. Check the prerequisites and assessment criteria

Your initial proposal will be considered against the following.

Minimum requirements of proposer

To submit a proposal to the Defence Innovation Hub you must be authorised to act on behalf of the business or organisation named in the proposal, and the business or organisation must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)

Minimum requirements of innovation

For your innovation to be of interest to Defence, it must be technology focused, unique and offer enhanced capability. For example, a proposal to import and adapt an existing commercially available technology for use in Australia would generally not be funded.

The Defence Innovation Hub may not progress submissions where the proposed innovation:

  • is covered by existing procurement or research activities Defence is undertaking

  • has been developed by or with the assistance of an individual during the course of their employment with Defence

  • has been developed under a contract with Defence (unless the contract specifically allows this)

Assessment criteria

Initial proposals are assessed against the following criteria:

  • Suitability – The extent to which the proposed innovation could further the effectiveness of a Defence capability, enterprise, or technology challenge.

    Defence will consider the following elements in making an assessment against this criterion:

    • the extent to which the respondent’s submission clearly articulates and explains the proposed innovation; and

    • the extent to which the proposed innovation is unique, and would provide a new or enhanced capability, or improves Defence's effectiveness and efficiency through innovation

  • Feasibility – The extent to which the proposed innovation will be able to be developed and adopted with relevant defence systems, from a technology perspective.

    Defence will consider, in making an assessment against this criterion, the current technology readiness level of the proposed innovation, and the relevance and credibility of any claims made by the respondent relating to the feasibility of the proposed innovation.

  • Timeliness – The anticipated timeframe that the proposed innovation would require to realise a positive impact on Defence capability.

    Defence will consider, in making an assessment against this criterion, the extent to which the proposed timeline and duration of the proposed innovation aligns with timelines for any Defence capability requirements or related activities undertaken by Defence.

  • Contribution to Australia’s defence industry capability – The extent to which the proposed innovation has the potential to improve or contribute to Australia’s defence Industry capability and capacity.

Defence balance of investment considerations

After an initial proposal is assessed against the criteria, Defence will consider the proposals it has received to ensure it maintains a balanced portfolio of investments across the innovation priorities, technology sectors and the innovation lifecycle.

If your initial proposal is successful, you will be invited to participate in a request for proposal (RFP) stage. In this you will be asked to provide more detailed information and Defence will undertake a more detailed assessment. Under the RFP, you will be asked to provide more detailed information on your idea and Defence will undertake a more detailed assessment including, considering balance of investment and strategic matters. More detail on the RFP assessment is set out under the priority innovation notice or special notice.

2. Get help from an industry engagement specialist

An Office of Defence Industry Support (ODIS) industry engagement specialist can help you:

  • align your proposal with Defence’s innovation priorities
  • understand the Defence innovation process, including the intellectual property and contract framework
  • with guidance as you develop your innovation proposal.

It may turn out that your innovation is better suited to other industries outside of Defence, or that there are opportunities for you to join domestic or global supply chains. In this case, your specialist will try to connect you with the right people and opportunities for your business.

Contact ODIS

ODIS specialists are independent of the defence innovation assessment process. This means they can provide specialist advice and help you prepare your innovation proposal, but they cannot view your proposal once it has been submitted and do not have any influence on its assessment. ODIS specialists will not disclose any of your information to a third party without your consent.

ODIS also provides a broader range of innovation advice and services, including:

  • specialist defence business and commercialisation advice for businesses that have successfully gained defence innovation funding, and possible diversification opportunities in adjacent industry sectors
  • facilitating connections to other businesses and potential markets via other AusIndustry programs
  • facilitating access to international innovation programs

3. Complete and submit your proposal

If you’re ready to make your submission to the Defence Innovation Hub:

  1. Go to the Defence Innovation Hub call for submissions - external site - external site page and select the notice you want to respond to.
  2. Read the terms and assessment criteria. If you want to continue, select Create a new submission.
  3. You’ll be asked to log in, or register a new account.
  4. Complete and submit the form. While your submission is in draft mode you can give your ODIS adviser access to view it and help you. Your ODIS adviser cannot view your submission once it has been submitted.

Shortly after you lodge your smart form, you’ll receive an automated email with a reference number confirming that your submission has been received. You should use that reference number in further communications with the Defence Innovation Hub.

If you have not received a confirmation email shortly after submitting, you can confirm the status of your submission via the Defence Innovation Hub Dashboard - external site - external site . If the proposal status is Draft, you should re-submit the form. If the proposal status is Initial Proposal Evaluation, your submission has been received and is being evaluated.

Information security

Information about your innovation and personal details are kept secure during the application process. The submission process will not require you to reveal any classified information. The Innovation Hub Management System is not designed to handle national security classified information, so you should ensure you do not submit classified information. If in doubt, talk to an ODIS adviser.

4. Understand allowable and reasonable costs

The Defence Innovation Hub (the Hub) awards Innovation Contracts through a competitive open tender process. These are 'Cost Reimbursement Contracts' which only cover allowable and reasonable research and development costs incurred by a successful tenderer. The costs must be directly attributable to development of the technology for the relevant contract phase. The Hub’s Innovation Contracts do not involve acquisition of the technology for operational use by Defence.

The Hub will determine what costs are allowable and reasonable. Tenderers must demonstrate that a cost is reasonable. The Hub may request additional information in order to clarify a particular cost.

In order to evaluate whether a cost is reasonable, consideration should be given to the following:

  1. meet contract requirements
  2. withstand public scrutiny
  3. be consistent with other sectors or market benchmarks
  4. be consistent with good business practice

Allowable costs

Allowable costs include, but are not limited to:

  • direct research and development costs
  • salaries for nominated key personnel for the period of the project
  • cost of materials and technology necessary for project completion (apportionment is required if technology purchased has a lasting benefit to the supplier after project completion)
  • direct overhead costs such as employee administrative overheads (e.g. computing and stationery)
  • salary on-costs (e.g. superannuation, leave loading and payroll tax)

Unallowable costs

Unallowable costs include, but are not limited to:

  • profit margin(s)
  • contingencies or reserves
  • indirect overhead costs that cannot be justified as directly relating to the development of innovative technology (e.g. equipment depreciation, utilities and corporate headquarter costs)

Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Group (CASG) Cost Principles provide greater understanding and clarity regarding how costs may be attributed to the Defence contracts.

For further information or clarification, please contact the Hub at

Read next

Find out what happens after you make an innovation submission.