Key information for applications

Applications for funding through Round 3 of the Innovation Partnership Grant are currently open.

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 15 March – 04 April (*)
Shortlisting 05 – 25 April
Request for a detailed proposal from approved shortlist 27 April – 13 May
Detailed proposals due
(Grant Agreement template reviewed by potential grantees)
13 May
Technical clarification, due diligence, grant agreement negotiation by 6 June
Final selection announcement
Grant agreement negotiation
Mid-June
Implementation June 2021 – May 2022

(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), 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 systemTested 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? A total amount of AUD 1.5 million has been reserved for this Grant round (Round 3). An available fund 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, and Ministry of Science and Technology, and other partners, grantees.

To know more about our Grant scheme and successful initiatives under previous rounds (Round 1 &2), you are encouraged to read more here.

004 What kind of organization is eligible for the Grant? Do I have to be an NGO? A Private Company? Or a Research Institute? Similar to the previous grant round, under the Grant Round 3, 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 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 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 Why “enhancing digital transformation in the economy and deliver inclusive social impacts” is chosen as the theme for this grant round? 2020 has been a testing year with the wide spread of COVID 19 pandemic, infecting millions and bringing economic activity to a near-standstill as countries imposed tight restrictions on movement to halt the transmission of the virus.

In this context, going digital has obviously become central to most, if not all efforts to minimize the disruption caused by the pandemic, and adapt to the new normalcy. In fact, digitalization had been on-going even long before COVID 19, but the pandemic has accelerated the transformation at a much higher speed and scale.

The first half of 2020 witnessed a rapid digital transformation in Vietnam in various areas including education, health, public services, and on-line trading. Digital transformation, and enhancing AI capability in Vietnam, is central to the country’s economic recovery priorities.  At the strategic level, in June this year the Prime Minister approved the National Digital Transformation Program with an expectation to transform Vietnam into a digital country by 2025, where government management, business operation, and people’s life are enabled within a secured digital environment.

This move has been very much aligned with analysis and recommendations from the Vietnam’s Future Digital Economy (VFDE), which set out clearly the rationale and necessity for digital transformation in Vietnam. Emerging digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, IoT, and platforms and cloud-based services were identified as one of the seven megatrends that will have the potential to transform Vietnam into Asia’s next high-performing economy and bring up the living standards of Vietnamese citizens in the coming decades.

“Enhancing Digital Transformation” is therefore selected as the theme to this Grant Round, which is expected to build a close connection to other work streams, such as the VFDE report or the on-going AI Initiative, and create a higher synergy of its supports across different program activities.

010 Are there specific sectors that the Grant will focus on?    While there is no restriction in the sectors that applicants might want to focus their ideas in, some suggestions include:
  • Smart manufacturing
  • Smart agriculture
  • Digital health
  • Smart education
  • Smart cities
  • Finance and Banking
  • Natural Resources and Environment
  • E-government
011 How will the innovation idea be ranked / evaluated? The innovation idea will be ranked /evaluated against six (5) core principles, including:
  • Maturity of the existing partnership;
  • The nature of the proposed innovation in digital transformation;
  • The readiness of the innovation ideas / activities;
  • The relevance to Vietnam digital transformation
  • The impacts on Vietnam socio-economic development
  • The adaptability to on-going COVID 19 context

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.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.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 previous round – whether I failed or succeeded – can I apply again in this round? 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.
016 If our initiative cannot be implemented due to the on-going COVID 19 pandemic, is there a chance for a deferral so that it can be implemented when the situation is back to normal?

 

No, there is no chance for a deferral and we do not expect to extend the timeline of the grant project because slippages due to COVID 19.

COVID 19, even in the coming period, has unfortunately become an element to be factored in in any business. How well the proposed initiative can be responded and adapted to COVID 19 is one of the six selection criteria for the innovation idea to be selected, to ensure that it can be implemented within the 12-month timeframe

017 Will there be another grant round following this one?

 

Round 3 is one of the efforts from the Aus4Innovation program and the Australian Embassy in Hanoi to respond to COVID 19 negative impacts and support Vietnam in its economic recovery. Given the current phase of the Aus4Innovation program will come to the end in 2022, this grant round will be the last one during the current time frame of the program.
018 Are we eligible to apply based on our partnership being self-funded? If your partnership is self-funded, you are eligible for this grant scheme. However, it would be important to justify why extra fund is required, and whether it will be used to fund new innovative activities.
019 Would it also be of value to provide letters of support from 3rd party organisations? Any support/recommendations letter from third party is welcome.
020 is there words limit of the EOI template? Please follow the instruction of the EOI template. Some sections do not require word limits. However, kindly develop your EOI as succinct as possible.
021 Can I use EU-cost norm 2020 for expenses?

 

We don’t apply a specific cost norm for the grant applicants. Applicants have the liberty to allocate the budget in the way that best fits their overall plan, bearing in mind that the grant is awarded on a competitive basis. The effectiveness of your proposed operation/implementation plan will be reviewed against other proposals during our evaluation process.
022 Can private company contribute money to the project? As this is a “partnership” grant, it is our goal is to support sustainable partnerships among Australian and Vietnamese partners to jointly develop and implement innovative ideas. Industry partners are welcome to participate and make financial contributions.