Innovation Partnership Grants – Round 2

The first round of grants focussed on developing partnerships between organisations in Australia and Vietnam with no limitation to the project topic. The three funded activities promote innovation in different sectors, and at different levels – introducing technology, growing a production system, and demonstrating an innovation model.

The theme of Round 2 is “Scaling existing Australia – Vietnam innovation partnerships”.

View the media release here

Focus and Objectives

Grant topics are not constrained by sector, but those aligned with Vietnam’ s development needs, Australia’s competitive strength, and other Aus4Innovation program work streams will be favourably considered. Possible topics include:

  • Solutions to climate change and environment challenges
  • Technology for sustainable urban development
  • Advances in agriculture and food commercialisation and productivity

Aus4Innovation seeks initiatives with the potential to deliver ecosystem-level impact and will be guided, in part, by the principles and recommendations of the International Development Innovation Alliance on the role of donors in ecosystem building (for more information see International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA)).

In all cases, proposals should demonstrate potential for wide-scale application, delivering lasting socioeconomic impact. Funded projects must address clearly identified gaps, promote international good practice, and be contextualised for success in Vietnam.

 

Guidelines for Applicants

Additional information for applicants is available in the guideline document, available here:

Download Guide to Applicants

(PDF, 399.3 KB)

 

EOI Template

The following information should be completed and uploaded with your application (in English and Vietnamese) as a single PDF file, including any attached supporting documents, to the SmartyGrants portal:

Download Expression of Interest Template

(PDF, 29.2 KB)

 

Application Platform

Submission and assessment of applications will be through the Aus4Innovation SmartyGrants portal. 

 

Key Dates

Applications for EOI Open 11 February – 17 March (*)
Shortlisting 18 March – 21 April
Request for detailed proposal from approved shortlist 22 April
Detailed proposals due 10 May
Interviews (as required for due diligence) May – early June
Final selection Mid June
Grant agreement signed (subject to agreement and any negotiation) Mid June – July
Implementation 12 months, from the Activity start date

(Other than (*), other planned timelines are indicative, depending on the actual number of applications received under this Round)

Application Languages

English will be used as the main language in most cases, including but not limited to the Grant Guideline, FAQs, or communications between the Aus4Innovation program office and applicants. Nevertheless, it is requested that submitted proposals will be in dual languages, including one version in English and one version in Vietnamese.

FAQs

Applicants are requested to submit any questions by email to aus4innovation@csiro.au. Answers provided to prospective applicants will be updated in the table below.

Reference
Question
Answer
001 What is the Aus4Innovation Program? Aus4Innovation is a flagship four year, AUD 11 million partnership program, running from 2018 to 2022 between Vietnam and Australia. The program is funded by the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the InnovationXchange (IXC), with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam to be the key partner. The program is designed to help strengthen the Vietnamese innovation system and prepare for Vietnam’s economic and digital future. Key government partner in this program is Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam.

There are four key inter-related work streams under the program, including (1) Foresighting the Digital Future for Vietnam, (ii) Science Commercialisation Partnerships, (iii) Innovation Partnership Grants, and (iv) Innovation Policy Exchange. The program is guided by an appointed Steering Committee, and implemented by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

For reference, a one-page introduction of the program can be found here

002 What is the Competitive Grant? The Competitive Grant is to provide targeted funds to scale already tested activities to address emerging challenges or opportunities in any sector of Vietnam’s innovation system. Tested activities implies technologies or activities with an existing proof of concept and articulated market segment, or path to impact, and an existing relationship between an Australian and a Vietnamese entity.

Grants will be available for existing partnerships or working relationships between Australian and Vietnamese institutions that can demonstrate an articulated pathway for scale or sustainability in Vietnam. It is not intended to support the creation of new partnerships or the testing of entirely new activities/ideas.

Grants will be provided on a competitive basis.

003 How much money is available under this Grant? How much money can I apply for? Total value of the Competitive Grant is AUD 3.95 million, to be delivered in two rounds, with up to 10 grants to be awarded, ranging from AUD 100K to AUD 1 million each, depending on the funding requirement of your innovation idea/activity.

Following the announcement of the Grant Round 1 Award where nearly AUD 1.63 was to be allocated to three successful applicants, total grant funding for Round 2, also to be the last round will be AUD 2.32 mil.

In addition to funding, this Grant will also be an opportunity for you to gain:

  • knowledge of the business, political and regulatory environments in Vietnam;
  • better network through interaction with other CSIRO, DFAT, IXC, and Ministry of Science and Technology, and other partners, grantees.
004 What kind of organization is eligible for the Grant? Do I have to be an NGO? A Private Company? Or a Research Institute? Under the Grant Round 2, all forms of entities – be it private, public sector, civil society organizations, social enterprise, university, research institute – from both countries are welcome to participate.

To be eligible for the grant, there must be an existing partnership that includes at least one Vietnamese and one Australian organization.

005 Must I be in a partnership with a Vietnamese (if I’m an Australian entity) or vice versa in order to be eligible to apply for the fund? Yes, having an existing partnership between at least a Vietnamese entity and an Australian one is a pre-condition to be eligible for this grant mechanism.

To note the existing partnership must predate the application – though it may previously have been created around a different activity.

006 Can I be in more than one partnership to apply for Grant for more than one innovation proposal? Yes, that is possible.
007 How can I apply? As the first step, please submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) online. Once your application is successfully submitted, an automated email acknowledgement of the receipt of your application will be sent to you.

If your EOI is shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a full proposal for evaluation.

You can email to aus4innovation@csiro.gov.au should you have any questions or need clarification during the application process. Responses will be available within five (5) working days.

008 What do you mean by innovation? By general definition, innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations (OECD, 2005).

In the specific context of this work stream of the program, innovation embraces new, innovative ideas with their derived activities and /or processes to help Vietnam enhance its innovation capacity and better prepare to take on opportunities, and respond to emerging challenges of the Industry 4.0.

009 What do you mean by “ecosystem-level impact”? The definition of ecosystem-level impact is guided, in part, by the principles and recommendations of the International Development Innovation Alliance on the role of donors in ecosystem building (for more information see https://www.idiainnovation.org/ecosystem), including:

  • Targeting initiatives that lead to a system-wide application, delivering sustainable socio-economic impact
  • Addressing clearly identified gaps
  • Building capacity and connectivity in the ecosystem by enabling collaboration infrastructure, a partnership creating and sustainability mechanisms
  • Promoting international good practice, contextualised for success in Vietnam
010 Is there a limitation of areas or industries that the proposed innovation must link up to? The theme of Round 2 is “Scaling existing Australia–Vietnam Innovation Partnerships

Grant topics are not constrained by theme, but those aligned with Vietnam’s development needs, Australia’s competitive strength, and other Aus4Innovation program work streams will be favourably considered. Possible topics include:

  • Solutions to climate change and environment challenges
  • Technology for sustainable urban development
  • Advances in agriculture and food commercialisation and productivity

Aus4Innovation seeks initiatives with the potential to deliver ecosystem-level impact and will be guided, in part, by the principles and recommendations of the International Development Innovation Alliance on the role of donors in ecosystem building (for more information see  IDIA

In all cases, proposals should demonstrate potential for wide-scale application, delivering lasting socioeconomic impact, Funded projects must address clearly identified gaps, promote international good practice, and be contextualised for success in Vietnam.

011 How will the innovation idea be ranked / evaluated? The innovation idea will be ranked /evaluated against six (6) core principles, including:

  • Maturity of the existing partnership;
  • The nature of the innovation itself;
  • The readiness of the innovation ideas/activities;
  • The relevance to Vietnam
  • The impacts on Vietnam innovation ecosystem-wide; and
  • The social impacts that the ideas/activities could bring to the people.

Applicants are encouraged to read the Grant Guideline for the EOI process carefully as well as study all the links provided as a minimum request.

012 If I fail to apply by the closing date due to technical issue, can the deadline be extended? Should you encounter a technical issue during the application process, you are advised to contact the Aus4Innovation program team immediately at aus4innovation@csiro.gov.au. Our SmartyGrant technical team will provide you with a solution on a case by case basis.

Unless decided by the Steering Committee due to specific circumstances or reasons, the closing date for submitting the EOI will not be extended

013 Can I make changes to my application once it has been submitted? Yes, you can. This can be done by uploading new versions and re-submitting the application on the required platform. Applicants are required to email to aus4innovation@csiro.gov.au to notify the office of the resubmission of the application. All the changes and re-submission must be done before the closing deadline.
014 What is the confidential policy applied to all the information I share in the application form? How can I guarantee the confidentiality of the provided information? Submitted application data will be kept in strict confidence by DFAT, CSIRO, and Aus4Innovation reviewers. Personnel are bound by confidentiality, or non-disclosure arrangements. Applications, however, will be reviewed at the Steering Committee, giving third party members and their personnel the opportunity to access data. Aus4Innovation, DFAT and CSIRO cannot take responsibility for the loss of any information outside their direct control. Applicants are reminded to consider the above, prior to disclosing potentially sensitive information, and to seek their own professional legal advice.

Applicants should be cognisant of their own need to retain security over actual or potential intellectual property rights.

015 If I have already applied in Round 1 – whether I failed or succeeded – can I apply again in phase 2? You are welcome to submit your innovation idea in this round, no matter you have applied in Round 1 and your application was selected / not selected.