Australia: New Victorian Government funding programs for innovation and technology

Last Updated: 22 September 2012
Article by Cameron Abbott, Anthony B. Watson and Amanda Hutchings

"Innovation Voucher Program" and the "Technology Voucher Program"

Innovation Voucher Program

This program has been set up to encourage and stimulate innovation, and further business collaboration and research partnerships.

The program involves the granting of vouchers with a value of up to A$25,000 for use in business research and development activities (Business R&D Vouchers), and up to A$10,000 to use in improving skills (Innovation Skills Vouchers).

Business R&D Voucher

Any Australian or overseas company with less than 200 employees that has not been a previous recipient of a grant under the Small Technologies Industry Uptake Program (STIUP) or the Technology Voucher Program, and that is not currently involved in litigation with the State Government of Victoria, may apply for a Business R&D Voucher. Companies may apply individually or jointly with other businesses.

Companies that are registered in Victoria or carry out more than 50% of their business activity in Victoria (Victorian companies) may use the voucher to undertake actual or scoping work for activities that meet the AusIndustry definition of R&D.

Non-Victorian companies may only use the voucher to undertake R&D work in Victoria with a local R&D supplier or service provider.

Voucher recipients may not redeem vouchers to pay for services already funded through other local, state or federal government grant programs, and may only use vouchers to redeem services from suppliers with which they have no formal or informal relationship unless a substantial scale-up (ie at least two-fold) in engagement with an existing collaborator can be demonstrated. Voucher recipients and suppliers must be entirely separate entities with no financial or other ties.

Victorian companies must make a minimum cash contribution to the project of 25% of the voucher amount requested (ie A$6,250 for a A$25,000 voucher), and non-Victorian companies must make a minimum cash contribution of 100% of the voucher amount requested.

Voucher recipients must commence the R&D project within three months, and complete the project within 12 months of the date of voucher issue.

Innovation Skills Voucher

Only Victorian companies with less than 200 employees, and Victorian publically funded research organisations, not currently involved in litigation with the State Government of Victoria may apply for an Innovation Skills Voucher. Companies and research organisations may apply individually or jointly with other businesses.

Victorian companies may use the voucher to access innovation skills development opportunities provided by Victorian suppliers and service providers which have an impact on the innovation capability of the entire company. Publicly funded research organisations may use the voucher to improve their capability and capacity to service industry projects.

Voucher recipients may not redeem vouchers to pay for services already funded through other local, state or federal government grant programs. Voucher recipients and suppliers must be entirely separate entities with no financial or other ties.

Victorian companies must make a minimum cash contribution to the project of 25% of the voucher amount requested (ie A$2,500 for a A$10,000 voucher).

Vouchers may be pooled to a maximum of A$50,000 and may be used to commission development of a tailored program for a number of companies or facilities with shared training needs.

Voucher recipients must commence the innovation skills project within six months, and complete the project within 18 months of the date of voucher issue.

Suppliers

Only approved suppliers may be used for Innovation Skills Voucher projects. Suppliers must either be Victorian-based or offer a service not available in Victoria.

This restriction does not apply to Business R&D Voucher projects, however the Government will provide voucher recipients with a list of potential suppliers, and when compiling the list will give preference to suppliers that are an institution, facility or company based in Victoria.

Applications

Applications for the Business R&D Vouchers, and applications to be put on the supplier list for both voucher programs, are currently open. Applications for the Innovation Skills Vouchers are anticipated to open in October 2012.

Technology Voucher Program

This program has been set up to drive the use of cutting edge technologies and to support Victorian companies to compete locally and globally. It specifically targets the development, adoption and integration of information and communication technology, industrial biotechnology and small technologies (nano and micro scale technologies) by businesses, and replaces and expands on the STIUP.

The program involves the granting of vouchers with a value of up to:

  • A$50,000 for use in technology development and/or absorption projects (Technology Development Voucher)
  • A$250,000 for use in substantial testing or applied development activities to adapt existing technology based innovations into new practice or within new markets (Technology Implementation Voucher)
  • A$10,000 for use in undertaking an information and communication technology development project with a Victorian university using one or more students during the vacation period (Technology Student Accelerator Voucher).

Eligibility for Technology Development Vouchers and Technology Implementation Vouchers

At this stage, only information on the Technology Development Voucher and Technology Implementation Voucher programs are available.

Any Australian or overseas company may apply for one of these vouchers, provided that:

  • they are not currently involved in litigation with the State Government of Victoria
  • f they are a Victorian company applying for a Technology Development Voucher, they have not received a STIUP Technical or Trial Voucher
  • if they are a Victorian company applying for a Technology Implementation Voucher, they have not received a STIUP Trial Voucher.

Companies may apply individually or jointly with other businesses.

Non-Victorian companies may only use the vouchers to undertake projects with Victorian suppliers, and must be able to demonstrate that significant and measurable benefits are likely to flow to Victoria from undertaking the project.

Voucher recipients may not redeem vouchers to pay for services already funded through other local, state or federal government grant programs.

Victorian companies must make a minimum cash contribution to the project of 25% of the voucher amount requested (ie A$12,500 for a A$50,000 Technology Development Voucher, and A$62,500 for a A$250,000 Technology Implementation Voucher), and non-Victorian companies must make a minimum cash contribution of 100% of the voucher amount requested.

Voucher recipients must be entirely separate entities from the supplier(s), with no financial or other ties.

Technology Development Voucher recipients must commence the project within three months, and complete the project within 12 months, of the date of voucher issue.

Technology Implementation Voucher recipients must commence the project within six months, and complete the project within 24 months, of the date of voucher issue.

Suppliers

Entities may apply to be put on the supplier list for either program.

Preference will be given to suppliers that are an institution, facility or company based in Victoria. Use of a voucher outside of Victoria will be considered on a case by case basis if there are valid reasons to gain expertise or access to specialised equipment outside of Victoria.

Applications

Applications for the Technology Development Vouchers, and applications to be put on the supplier list for all voucher programs, are currently open. Applications for the Technology Implementation Vouchers and Technology Student Accelerator Vouchers are anticipated to open in October 2012.

Further information

Further information about the Innovation Voucher Program, including how to apply, can be obtained here.

Further information about the Technology Voucher Program, including how to apply, can be obtained here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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