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 Two is open

The theme for Innovation Districts Challenge Two is economic resilience with a focus on solutions that build economic resilience for NSW business to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Projects might address problem areas including;

  • business sectors most impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, international education
  • ongoing supply chain weaknesses and sovereign supply chain capacity
  • strengthening local communities in the management and recovery from outbreaks.

Due to the impact of the widespread flooding event, the due date for finalists to submit Stage Two applications has been extended.

Stage Two full applications close at 4pm AEST on Tuesday 6 April 2021.

Apply through your local Innovation District Partner.

Challenge One winners

Challenge Statement: Health and wellbeing solutions that reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the people of NSW.

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).

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

Siobhan Curran  02 4921 6951

University of New England

University of NSW

Southern Cross Uni

University of Sudney

UTS Biotech Hub Logo

Western Sydney University

Zahra Shahbazian  or Julia Frith  0438 358 243

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 the Global NSW Concierge at or call 02 4908 4800