Innovation Districts Challenges

The Innovation Districts Challenges are designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of COVID-19 by businesses in partnership with universities and CSIRO in NSW.

Challenge themes align with the NSW Government ‘Respond, Recover and Reform’ approach to COVID-19.

Who is this for

Small to medium sized enterprises that have a product or service that directly addresses the impact of COVID-19 (see eligibility criteria).

What are the funding opportunities

The total funding pool available for each Challenge round is $500,000.

  • Highest ranked applicant $250,000
  • Second-highest ranked applicant $100,000
  • Third-highest ranked applicant $30,000
  • Highest ranked applicant in each Innovation District that is not one of the statewide overall recipients will be granted $10,000, as determined by the evaluation panel.

Challenge Three: Entrepreneurship  

Now open

NSW Government calls for R&D solutions that strengthen the entrepreneurship capability of the State for a post-COVID-19 economy.

Proposed projects might:

  • Be scalable and research-based technology products or services
  • Help sectors pivot to high growth technology solutions
  • Strengthen Australia’s sovereign capability and local supply chains
  • Implement a sustainable and novel solution to an area in need of reform, such as aged care, food security
  • Address the workforce gap created by international closures (students, reduced migration)
  • Champion Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Questions and further information

Previous challenges:

Challenge One:  Health and Wellbeing

Read about the winners of challenge one

Grant recipients

  • $250,000 to DetectED-X lung scan artificial intelligence diagnosis and education platform
  • $100,000 to VBreathe anti-viral air filtration personal device
  • $30,000 to EcoAid BioTech biodegradable, anti-viral coating and spray
  • $10,000 to local winners: COVIU Global, Birth Beat, All Metal Products, Criticalarc, Colan Products, YourLink, Energisim, Pen CS, Moove & Groove, Halo Medical Devices, We Are Explorers, The Ripper Group.

Applications from businesses across the State were assessed by two groups of experts from NSW Health, the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, NSW Treasury, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Challenge Two: Economic Resilience

Grant recipients

  • $250,000 to Adiona with CSIRO for a simulation engine for logistics including rapid vaccine distribution planning and delivery
  • $100,000 to Arludo with University of NSW for teaching STEM using a library of apps that enable students to collate science data with peers and collaborate in real time
  • $30,000 to Kleu with University of Wollongong for a business tool for large-scale customer support workforces
  • $10,000 to local winners: Bundlfresh, Good360 Australia, Medulla, PeepsRide, Pairtree Intelligence, Young Henrys Brewing Company, Steber International, Maxiem, New England Cheese, Studymove, HRDS Technologies, and Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Corporation.

Applications from businesses across the State were assessed by two groups of experts from Investment NSW, Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, and Department of Customer Service.

Innovation Districts

The Innovation Districts C19 R&D Challenges are led by the following Boosting Business Innovation Program partner organisations.

Australian Catholic Uni Logo

Charles Sturt Univresity


Macquarie Uni

Innovation Districts Challenges

University of New England

University of NSW

Southern Cross Uni

University of Sudney

UTS Biotech Hub Logo

Western Sydney University

Illawarra Innovation Quest

Question and further information

Read the Guidelines for the Innovation Districts C19 R and D Challenge

Contact your local innovation district partner  leading challenge activities.

You can also contact Investment NSW Concierge at or call 02 4908 4800