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R&D support for small to medium-sized businesses

Innovation Connections helps small to medium-sized businesses overcome some of the barriers commonly associated with research and development (R&D), such as a lack of technical expertise, funding or identifying the right R&D opportunity for your business.

The program provides an end-to-end facilitation service, including:

  • help with identifying your R&D opportunity and associated business research needs
  • connecting your business with the right research expertise from research institutions across the country (including CSIRO)
  • up to $50,000 matched funding to support project costs or expand the scope of R&D services.

If you've never worked with a research organisation before that's ok - this is the case for more than a third of businesses that have engaged with Innovation Connections. Our facilitators will guide you every step of the way and are happy to talk about your R&D needs and how you can work with the research sector to develop innovative solutions.

How does it work?

We realise that engaging in R&D can be a daunting prospect, and your Innovation Facilitator will drive an end-end facilitation service to help you refine your project scope that identifies business growth opportunities and match you with the right research expertise for your R&D project.

Many of the businesses we have supported have gone on to grow their business, attract further investment and commercialise their products.

  1. Reach out to a facilitator in your state - contact our facilitators to tell us a bit more about your research idea. Our facilitators can help you determine your eligibility, refine your research needs and project scope, and assist with completing an application form.
  2. Matching - our experienced facilitators will then match you with the most relevant expertise for your business from research organisations across the country, help you pull together a grant application and work with the research team to develop a project proposal.
  3. Project gets underway - once you have a contract in place with the research organisation, your project can start.
Program summary
Matched funding Eligibility criteria Research support

Two grants up to $50K each (+ $30K for a Graduate Placement)*.

Your business needs to match the funding provided by Innovation Connections. For example, if you are provided with grant funding of $50,000, your business must also provide $50,000.

This must be a cash contribution and cannot be in-kind.

  • Annual turnover $1.5M - $100M (or a minimum turnover of $750,000 in remote regions).
  • Have an Australian Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • Have traded for at least three years and be financially solvent.
  • Operate in one of five growth sectors**, or provide enabling technologies and services to a business working in one of these sectors.
  • Researcher Placement: Placement of a researcher in your business to work collaboratively on your project (up to a maximum of $50,000).
  • Business Researcher Placement: Placement of your own researcher into a publicly funded research organisation to work on your project (up to a maximum of $50,000).
  • Graduate Placement: Employ a graduate or postgraduate into your business to undertake a research project (up to a maximum of $30,000).

* Max. $130,000 funding per company per project. You are welcome to submit a second grant application within 10 weeks of completing your first project

** Part of the Australian Government's Industry Growth Centre Initiative: 1.Advanced Manufacturing, 2. Food and Agribusiness, 3. Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals, 4. Mining Equipment, Technology and Services and 5. Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources. For definitions of each of these please view the Innovation Connections customer information guide.

Example R&D activities

  • Explore a new product or material
  • Develop new manufacturing processes
  • Validate an idea

Our track record

Since 2015, Innovation Connections has helped more than 1,300 small to medium sized businesses grow and gain competitive advantage. CSIRO is the National Delivery Partner for Innovation Connections.

View some examples of companies we have supported in:

Of the businesses supported






stated that they created intellectual property introduced new or improved product or processes accessed (or are expecting to access) new markets noted an improvement or expected improvement in the skills of their workforce developed ongoing relationships with their researcher institution

Find out more and apply

The customer information guide provides further information about Innovation Connections.

We have 18 experienced nationally-based facilitators who can assist you in identifying the R&D needs to help your business grow.

Get in touch with our facilitators

To discuss your eligibility and R&D needs, please get in touch with a facilitator based in your state for a free consultation.

Otherwise, if you are ready to apply, you can apply online.


We deliver the Innovation Connections service on behalf of the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs' Programme.

The Entrepreneurs' Programme provides a suite of unique services to help Australian businesses strengthen, grow, innovate and commercialise.

They are specially designed to help you achieve your business vision, facilitated through expert advice and financial assistance.

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Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

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