Bridging Grants - Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not covered here then please email us and we will try and answer it promptly and then if appropriate add it to this FAQ.

Who can apply for Bridging grants?

Bridging grants target early stage proof of concept and knowledge transfer, product development and market testing, innovation and commercialisation activities.

They are designed to support international SME-Researcher partnerships grow beyond an initial level of engagement such as might be originally developed during a Priming Grant funded process, (but not exclusively restricted to this early stage activity).

The concept is to turn a strong collaboration on the translation of research knowledge and intellectual property into market ready products or services. 

Is having a Priming Grant a pre-requisite for applying for a Bridging grant?

No. Anyone who fits the eligibility criteria can apply for a Bridging Grant. Therefore as long as your project is ready for proof of concept testing and/or prototype design and development then you are ready to apply for a Bridging Grant.

If I received a Priming Grant in the 2017 round can I apply for a Bridging Grant in the current 2018 round?

Whilst we do not normally expect recent Priming Grant holders (that is those awarded Priming Grants within the last 12 months) to apply immediately for a Bridging Grant there can be some exceptions. 

In general, experience tells us that it usually takes 12-24 months for a Priming Grant project to prove itself and determine whether the partnership is likely to be successful and the need for next stage funding sought.

There may be a case(s) where Priming Grant awardees (from 2017) have successfully completed their projects early and now seek to progress it with further funding through a Bridging Grant in 2018.  In such circumstances we would expect to have received their final Priming Grant report from prior to entering the 2018 Bridging Grant application process. 

In the first instance, 2017 Priming Grant holders in this situation who believe they meet these requirements should contact us first to discuss their case if there are any questions about their status. 

If I received a Bridging Grant in the 2017 round can I apply for a Bridging Grant in the current 2018 round?

No. We would expect you to have completed your original 2017 grant commitments which are programmed over a 12 month period and include submission and acceptance by the GCF of your final reporting requirements.

You can re-apply for another grant in 2018 provided you have met the first BG reporting requirements. BG grants can't be used to extend work initially funded by a BG (i.e. a second round of grant funding for the same project.  

Previous holders of a BG (i.e. 2016) who apply for another grant in 2018 must do so for a project that is completely different and with different partners from that first funded.

What partnerships do Bridging grants support?

Bridging Grants only support the following partnering arrangements:

  • Australian SMEs looking to partner with Researchers in a priority listed economy.
  • Australian Researchers seeking to partner with International SMEs in a priority listed economy.

The applicant MUST be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and applicants can only be an Australian SME or Researcher.

What partnerships do Bridging grants NOT support?

We do not support Researcher-Researcher or SME-SME Partnerships.

What is the definition of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)?

Australian SME applicants must:

  • meet the business.gov.au definition of an SME which is the term is used to refer to micro-businesses, small businesses and medium sized firms. A small business has less than 20 employees, a medium business has between 20 and 199 employees and SMEs have less than 200 employees.;

SMEs must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN);
  • be incorporated and registered for GST, and
  • be incorporated as a Pty Ltd or Ltd entity
  • not be set up as a trust structure
  • not be a sole trader
  • must not be engaged in any litigation, arbitration, administrative proceedings, investigations, of or before any court, tribunal, commission, arbitral body or other agency in any jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Australia (for enterprises based in Australia) or in the nominated priority economy

SME Classification Guidance for Priority Economies is provided here.

These classifications are provided for guidance only to help assess the partner SME status when preparing for an EOI or Bridging Grant application submission. Each economy is different and there is no harmonised international definition of an SME.  

It is the responsibility of the Australian researcher applicant to ascertain that their international SME partner is an SME in their economy we may request documented proof prior to a grant being assessed or awarded.

I am a sole trader in Australia, am I an SME?

No, as you need to be an incorporated entity such as a Pty Ltd or Ltd.

What are the requirements for Australian researchers as applicants?

Australian research applicants must be employed by a registered tertiary education institution, public sector research agency, not-for-profit research organisation or Cooperative Research Centre in Australia.

What is the definition of a Researcher?

For the purposes of Bridging Grant applications, researchers are defined as those employed by a tertiary education institution, publicly funded research organisation, not-for-profit research organisation, or research centre. They must be classified as at the post-doctoral level or above. Research Associates may be eligible depending on the level of qualifications and ATSE can discuss this with the applicant prior to submisssion if required. 

Researchers who are affiliated with the above institutions though adjunct or conjoint status and not actually employed are not eligible. These definitions apply to Australian and international researchers.

Researchers within company organisations are not eligible to be nominated as research partners.

Can I have more than one research or SME partner?

In a Bridging Grant application you can only have one primary partner and only one applicant. 

If Australian Cooperative Research Centres are incorporated can they be an applicant SME?

No. But if they have SME partners then these SME partners can apply. Researchers within CRCs are eligible to apply for a Bridging Grant if their collaborative partner is an international SME within the stated Priority economies.

Can university or institutional research groups, departments or schools submit multiple EOI applications for Bridging Grants?

The Guidelines currently state that "Applicants can only submit one Bridging Grant application, and only one application per research group or SME will be considered.

The intent of this guidance is to avoid multiple applications being submitted for projects which are thematically or technically similar. 

We will only support multiple EOI applications from university research groups, departments or schools, provided the proposed projects are employing distinctly different technologies and/or are in different areas of research endeavour. In these cases, the proposed SME partners must also be different for each project proposal. Please contact us first to discuss if you are unsure.

Can SMEs submit multiple eligibility tests and or applications for Bridging Grants?

No. SMEs can only submit one application per company or related party. As for researchers and research groups, the intent of this guidance is to avoid multiple applications being submitted for projects which are thematically or technically similar regardless of whether the proposed partner is the same or different. It is contact us first to discuss if you are unsure or need a clarification.

Is a subsidiary of an Australian SME located overseas considered eligible as an international SME partner?

No. Such a subsidiary if not an incorporated entity in the priority economy, is considered for the purposes of this program as an Australian company and cannot participate as the international SME partner. Please contact us to discuss if you have additional questions relating to this.

What is the eligibility status of applying for grants with UK partners?

At this time the United Kingdom is regarded as a priority economy and is eligible to participate.

Is GST payable on the receipt of a Bridging Grant?

There is no GST payable on receipt of a Bridging Grant. 

Matching Funds - contribution levels

It is a requirement that the partners will each make a contribution of cash and/or in-kind totalling 50 per cent of the value of the grant applied for. There is no upper limit on additional cash or in-kind funds that the applicants may apply to the project if deemed appropriate to do so. Cash and in-kind are treated as equal for the purposes of the Bridging Grants matching funds component. The proportion contributed by each partner (cash and/or in kind) is left to the Applicant to determine but most must make a contribution.

Grant Duration and Reporting

The grant activity must be completed within 12 months of the award being accepted. Extensions cannot be given.

There will be two reporting points; an interim progress report at six months and a final report due at 13 months i.e. 1 month after the grant period expires.

It is the responsibility of the Australian Applicants to prepare and file the reports.

Grantees will also be required to participate in an final exit survey.

Along with the final report there will be a requirement to provide a signed financial statement of expenditure of the grant.

All grantees will be required to provide a small vignette on the project for public use by ATSE and/or the Australian Government when reporting publicly on the outcomes of the project.

[Updated 06.10.2017]