The NSW Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) program is an initiative of the NSW Government that provides competitive grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and commercialise innovative solutions to well-defined problems for NSW Government agencies.

The 2021 SBIR program will provide up to $12 million in grants to NSW SMEs to solve the five NSW Government challenges listed below. View the SBIR program one-page information sheet

The SBIR program has three phases:

  • Phase 1 – Feasibility study: An SME submits a proposal to solve one of the five SBIR program challenges. The proposals are assessed, with each successful applicant receiving a grant of up to $100,000 to conduct a feasibility study over a period of three months.
  • Phase 2 – Proof of concept: Successful feasibility study grantees are invited to apply for the proof-of-concept phase. Applications are assessed and each successful proof-of-concept grantee will receive up to $1,000,000 to develop a proof of concept over a period of up to 15 months.
  • Phase 3 – Procurement: NSW Government agencies will consider purchasing successful solutions.

Not all SME applications will proceed through all phases.

Challenge Statements

Proposed solutions must address one of the SBIR program challenges. Each challenge describes a current NSW Government agency problem requiring an innovative solution.

Five challenges have been defined for the 2021 SBIR program:


R&D NSW will host a webinar for each challenge in July 2021. Each webinar will describe the SBIR program, the challenge, and provide an opportunity for prospective applicants to ask questions of the NSW Government agency proposing that challenge. The webinars will be recorded and made available on the SBIR program website.

Connectivity Challenge Webinar 
Wednesday 7 July 2021, 12:00pm to 1:00pm AEST

Koala Count Challenge Webinar 
Monday 12 July 2021, 12:00pm to 1:00pm AEST

Hyperlocal Navigation Challenge Webinar 
Thursday 15 July 2021, 12:30pm to 1:30pm AEST

Personal Protective Equipment and Water Purification Challenges Webinar 
Monday 26 July 2021, 12:00pm to 1:30pm AEST

How to Apply

Applications open in late June 2021. Applications close at 11:59pm AEST on Monday 16 August 2021.

Before applying, all applicants should read the 2021 NSW SBIR Program Guidelines  and 2021 NSW SBIR Program FAQs.

Important Dates

Jun 2021 Phase 1: Feasibility study applications open
Jul 2021 Webinars are hosted for each SBIR program challenge
Aug 2021 Phase 1: Feasibility study applications close
Sep 2021 Applications are assessed for Phase 1: Feasibility study
Oct 2021 Grants awarded and Phase 1: Feasibility studies commence
Jan 2022 Feasibility studies are completed and grantees are invited to apply for Phase 2: Proof of concept
Mar 2022 Phase 2: Proof of concept projects commence

Dates are subject to change.

Our Partner Universities

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