Round 1 Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the Aus4Innovation Partnership Grant Round 1 recipients

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, and will help tackle and address some of Vietnam’s emerging challenges. Find out more about each of the research projects below.

Project: UTS Rapido Vietnam

Aquaculture is a major export industry for Vietnam, seriously threatened by mass stock mortality due to water pollution and consequent diseases. This problem is particularly serious in Phu Yen. Water pollution is also a big

High-tech sea water monitoring system in Phu Yen province. Photo: UTS Rapido Vietnam

High-tech sea water monitoring system in Phu Yen province. Photo credit: UTS Rapido Vietnam

health problem in the Red River Delta, where millions of people still do not have access to safe drinking water, often due to contamination by arsenic and ammonia. UTS Rapido is a proven model of technology transfer that can be tailored to the Vietnamese context. It uses advanced engineering and IT approaches to solve technology challenges, leveraging UTS resources and knowledge. The application of IoT platforms in water system management in these regional and remote communities will serve as a model for uptake across the country, with the support of local government.


Find out more (English version) Find out more (Vietnamese version)

Project: Sea Cucumbers

Sea cucumbers are important both ecologically and economically throughout much of the world, with a market value from AUD$20-500 per dried kilogram. It is believed to provide nutrients that can help cure cancers, increase libido and delay aging processes. Unfortunately, as a result of this, wild ocean sea cucumbers have been severely overfished worldwide and are rapidly becoming endangered and there is now an urgent need to develop their aquaculture so that markets can keep up with demand and wild ocean populations can rebuild.

Duy, one of the researchers with a sea cucumber

Duy, one of the researchers with a sea cucumber

The project team researchers have recently discovered a sea cucumber hormone that can overcome reproductive dysfunction. Reproduction hormone therapy is a proven technology in many animals, including humans, but has never been undertaken in sea cucumbers. The discovery of the sea cucumber relaxin hormone, and its production through biotechnology methods, provides a key innovative breakthrough towards enhancing sea cucumber aquaculture.


Find out more (English version) Find out more (Vietnamese version)

Project: Vietrad

Woman receiving a mammogram

Woman receiving a mammogram. Photo credit: Unsplash

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Vietnamese women with over 10,000 new cases diagnosed annually, with most patients presenting with late stages making the treatment more difficult with low survival. Early cancer detection depends on accurate interpretation of breast images by radiologists and this is essential to improving treatment efficacy and patient prognosis. However, data showed that Vietnamese radiologists displayed low diagnostic efficacy in detecting abnormalities on mammograms with sensitivity values below 50% compared with 85% among Australian radiologists.

Vietrad’s novel image approach, Breastscreen REader Assessment STrategy (BREAST), is used by BreastScreen services in Australia and New Zealand as an official training tool to optimise cancer detection. To date, Vietrad has transformed radiologists’ performance in breast cancer detection on mammograms with improvements of over 30% among radiologists. This project will introduce, implement, and validate VIETRAD, a BREAST – type platform tailored for Vietnamese clinicians using high quality Australian and Vietnamese breast images.

Find out more (English version) Find out more (Vietnamese version)


View the official media release here


VM Duy


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

Reference Question Answer

What is the Aus4Innovation Program?


Aus4Innovation is a flagship four year, AUD 10 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.

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 mean 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.

How much money is available under this Grant? How much money can I apply for?

The total value of the Competitive Grant is AUD 3 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. 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.


What kind of organization is eligible for the Grant? Do I have to be an NGO? A Private Company? Or a Research Institute?

To be eligible for the grant, there must be an existing partnership that includes at least on Vietnamese and one Australian organization. Preferred eligible Australian organisations include universities, research institutes, public sector agencies or civil society organisations. Australian for-profit companies may not be lead partners in Round 1. Eligible Vietnamese organisations include any private, public sector, or civil society organisation operating in Vietnam.

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.

Can I be in more than one partnership to apply for Grant for more than one innovation proposal?

Yes, that is possible.

How can I apply?


As the first step, please submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) online here. 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. Applications, proposals, as well as all communications incurred during the process,  must be in English.

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


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 workstream 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.



Is there a limitation of areas or industries that the proposed innovation must link up to?


For the first round of this grant mechanism, there is no limitation to areas or industries that your innovation must link up. Nevertheless, topics that are aligned with the outcomes of other Aus4Innovation workstreams will be favourably considered. For example,

·        Adoption of digital technology into small enterprise

· High-value goods: quality, individualisation, equality, humanity and provenance

·        Increasing labour productivity·        Agriculture 4.0: productivity, export market access, and food provenance

·        Manufacturing 4.0: data, cyber-physical-biological systems, AI, and additive manufacturing

·        Smarter cities

·        Cyber-security and privacy in the 4th Industrial Revolution


How will the innovation idea be ranked/evaluated?


The innovation idea will be ranked /evaluated against five (5) core principles, including:

         Maturity of the existing partnership;

         The nature of the innovation itself;

         The readiness of the innovation ideas/activities;

         The relevance of the idea to Vietnam development context; 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.



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 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. 



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 to notify the office of the resubmission of the application. 



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 is 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.



If I fail to apply for the Grant under this round, will there be any changes in the future? If yes, when?


The Grant will be implemented in two rounds, with the first one to be launched in Mar 2019, and the second (last) one in late 2019, or early 2020. In case you fail to apply for a grant under the first round, there is still an opportunity to apply under the second one.

Will our organization still be eligible for this grant scheme if we have received funding from the Australian Government in the past?

Yes, you will if activities that seek funding are new or considered as an extension to those already funded. The fact that your organization had received funding from the Australian Government (or other sources) does not exclude you from this grant scheme.
016 Can an Australian for-profit organization apply for this grant? For-profit companies can be part of the grant scheme, but cannot be the lead partners. To participate, these companies would need to bring along a research institution, not-for-profit, community service organization, or similar as the lead entity. 

Can our organization submit more than one EOI?

Yes, you can, should your partnerships, which in this case must be between an Australian entity and a Vietnamese one pursue different innovation initiatives.

Do we need to have an MoU (between an Australian entity and a Vietnamese one) in place to prove the existing partnership?

Having a signed MoU is one way to prove the existing partnership. At the same time, other forms of evidence of an existing partnership will also be taken into account, e.g. proofs showing your working relations in certain researches, activities, collaborations etc.

Our innovative idea will take more than 12 months to complete – Can we still apply? Will the duration of the grant be extended?

The Grant Guideline specifically suggests an up to twelve-month period for the implementation of the grant, and applicants need to stick with this principle when they decide to submit. Exceptional cases to request extension are those where the extension needs are unforeseen due to unexpected circumstances, and those requests will need final decisions from the Steering Committee of the Program in order to go ahead.