Priming Grant Guidelines

Part 1: Background and Objectives

The Priming Grant component of the Global Connections Fund (GCF) will enable Australian researchers to engage with international small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and enable Australian SMEs to collaborate with international researchers. All international parties must be from a nominated priority economy (please see Attachment A). Priming Grants do not support SME-SME or researcher-researcher collaborative proposals.

The GCF is administered by the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. This initiative aligns with the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.  ATSE’s national and international networks will be a key tool in ensuring the success of the GCF, helping to enable Australian researchers and SMEs to identify relevant international partners from the identified priority economies.

Part 2: Overview of Priming Grants

2.1 Eligibility

The applicant must be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident, living in Australia at the time of submitting the grant application (note: if successful, Priming Grant applicants will need to provide proof of citizenship or permanent residency if requested, as a condition of receiving funds).

Australian SME applicants must:

  •  Meet the definition of an SME, which is the term 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;
  •  Have an Australian Business Number (ABN);
  • Be incorporated and registered for GST; and
  • Must not be engaged in any litigation, arbitration, administrative proceedings, investigations, 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.

Australian research applicants:

are defined as those employed by a tertiary education institution, publicly funded research organisation, not-for-profit research organisation, or cooperative research centre.

The Priming Grants only support the following partnering arrangements:

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

2.2 Non-Eligibility

Applications will not be accepted from international candidates.

Previous successful 2017 Priming Grant holders are not eligible to apply if the area of endeavour is the same as previously funded, even if new potential partners are involved.

However, 2017 PG awardees may be eligible to apply for a 2018 Priming Grant if: 

  •  the topic and partnership is entirely different from that of the previous award, and
  • only after they have completed their 2017 PG grant requirements which includes the filing of a final report. 

2017 awardees will be eligible to apply in the same area of endeavour in the 2019 Priming Grant rounds.

Priming grants do not support Researcher-Researcher or SME-SME Partnerships.

2.3 What Priming Grants Support

Priming Grants of $7,000 AUD can be used to facilitate:

  • formalising the relationship (such as an initial face-to-face meeting between the partners);
  •  project activities e.g. establishing IP and other legal/partnership establishment costs;
  • preparation of applications for funding grants;
  • travel (air, surface (rail, bus, road);
  • accommodation; and
  • other expenses associated with the meeting (meals and incidentals).

The Priming Grant may be used by the Australian recipient to travel to a mutually convenient location. The funds can be used by the international partner to travel to Australia if required. However, all responsibility for the grant remains with the Australian recipient.

All project expenditure is to be incurred after the Priming Grant is issued.

2.4 What Priming Grants are not intended to support

Priming grants cannot be used for:

  • direct research costs;
  • routine replacement, purchase or upgrade of equipment;
  • activities that would be undertaken in the normal course of business, such as website development, or the purchase, development and/or integration of standard software for core purposes (e.g. accounting, financial management), business planning (except where this involves joint planning of activities for a new collaboration), sales and promotional activities;
  • retrospective activities (i.e. where expenditure is incurred prior to awarding of a Priming Grant); or
  • anything else as determined by ATSE as not meeting the Priming Grant objectives.

2.5 Application process

The process is as follows:

  1. An Expression of Interest form (EOI) is available online through the Global Connections Fund website ( This must first be completed and submitted. Once submitted the EOI will be assessed for eligibility to then proceed to a Priming Grant Application.
  2. If the EOI is approved, an EOI number and a link to the Priming Grant Application online form will be emailed to the EOI submitter.  The EOI number is required to complete the online Priming Grant Application form.

If you do not have an EOI number, you will not be able to make a grant application.

The Priming Grant Application will contain the following:

1. Project description

A description of the proposed Project including:

  • The issue or opportunity to be addressed or problem to be solved.
  • Details of your proposed partner and why you have selected them.
  • Potential market opportunity being addressed; size and opportunity, competitive landscape, uniqueness.

2. Project activities

What you are going to do and how you will do it.

  • A clear description (bullet point list of specific project steps) of the project activities and proposed work program that you plan to undertake if the application is successful.
  • Resources required to complete the initial engagement.
  • How you will fund activities beyond a Priming Grant.

3. Impact of this Project

  • Is the project likely to result in an ongoing collaboration?
  • What is the likelihood of a successful demonstration of the project technology?
  • What is the likelihood that the project will result in a commercialised product or service?
  • What impact will a successful outcome have on the current market?
  • Are there likely to be returns on investment to both the researchers and SME partners involved in the project?
  • How will Australia benefit from this international collaboration if it is successful and moves forward to create a larger collaborative project?

Other notes:

All sections of the Application Form must be completed in full and further information may be sought from applicants if documentation is incomplete or unclear. The Application Form must be submitted by a person with delegated authority to apply. The information included in the completed form will be treated by ATSE as commercial-in-confidence.

Applicants can only submit one Priming Grant application, and only one application per research group or SME will be considered.

Information in your application, the final report and survey data may be provided to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

We suggest you also consult the Priming Grant FAQ section on the website which contains further important and useful information regarding the eligibility criteria for these grants.

2.6 Assessment

1. Expressions of Interest applications will be screened against several suitability requirements by an internal panel comprised of independent expert representatives nominated by ATSE:

The suitability requirements include:

  • Does the application meet eligibility criteria outlined in Part 2.1 and 2.2?
  • Does the application relate to one of the Priming Grant priority areas?
  • Is the grant funding for a linkage activity (i.e.: NOT intended to fund research) with a researcher or SME in a priority economy?

Applicants must answer ‘Yes’ to the suitability questions above in order to be deemed suitable for further assessment.

2. Priming Grant applications will be assessed by an external Independent Expert Panel.

Assessment scoring will be out of 25 based on five separate criteria:

Assessment Criteria

  1. The need for support, including the issue or opportunity to be addressed or problem to be solved and the partners selected (Weighting 5)
  2. Potential market opportunity being addressed (be realistic) - size and opportunity, competitive landscape, uniqueness (Weighting 5)
  3. Likelihood of the Priming Grant activity to result in an ongoing R&D collaboration project (Weighting 5)
  4. Strategies for securing future funding (Weighting 5)
  5. Potential impact of the Priming Grant activity on business productivity or competitiveness and benefits to Australia (Weighting 5)

Applicants will be notified once the assessment process has been finalised (noting that we contact all applicants personally).

All decisions are final. No correspondence will be entered into on the outcomes.

2.7 Payment

  • ATSE will make a payment to the successful Australian applicant involved in an approved Priming Grant partnership activity.
  • Each Priming Grant awarded will be paid to its total value (AU$7,000) in one instalment.
  • Awardees will be required to sign a letter of acceptance prior to funds being remitted to the nominated account.
  • ATSE anticipates that all successful grantees in this round will receive their funds within a month of being notified of a successful application.
  • Acceptance of grant offers must be taken up within 1 month of the letter being issued by ATSE. Failure to do may lead to withdrawal of the offer.

2.8 Duration of funding

The Priming Grant activities are to be initiated within three months of grant payment and must be actively underway by five months. All grants must and completed within 12 months of grant payment. No extensions are possible.

ATSE reserves the right to withdraw the funding/offer of funding if collaborations are not commenced within these timeframes.

2.9 Reporting

Recipients of a 2017 Priming Grant are required to submit a final report when the grant activity is completed and no later than 30th April 2018.

The report should outline the outcomes of the Priming Grant and include a Declaration stating that Priming Grant funding was spent in line with the purposes for which it was granted.

A reporting template will be available on the Global Connections fund website and must be used in the final report.

Information in your application, final report and final survey may be provided to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

Attachment A

PRIORITY AREAS (and corresponding Growth Centre links)

The priority areas reflect the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centre priorities and are consistent with nine Australian National Science and Research Priorities.


The following priority economies are identified in the Global Innovation Strategy under the National Innovation & Science Agenda.

  • Brazil
  • China (excluding Special Administrative Regions (SARs))
  • European Union – the 28 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • The Republic of Korea
  • The United States of America
  • Vietnam

Applications for partnerships outside these economies cannot be accepted. Associated member states of the EU (except Switzerland) are not eligible to participate. 

(Updated 03.10.2017)