Priming 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 add it to this FAQ.

1. What partnerships do Priming grants support?

Priming Grants only support the following partnering arrangements:

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

The applicant MUST be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Your proposed partner should not be part of an exisiting research or commercial relationship but part of a new opportunity you are seeking to explore. You must be contemplating a collaborative project which involves translational activities, end use development and/or commercialisation outcomes.

2. What partnerships do Priming grants NOT support?

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

3. If I was awarded a Priming Grant in 2017 can I apply for another in the 2018 rounds?

No. 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 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 grant requirements which includes the filing of a final report. 

2017 awardees will be eligible to apply (via an EOI first) in the same area of endeavour in the 2019 Priming Grant round. We suggest you contact us to discuss this if you are unsure of your status.

4. 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.;
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN);
  • be incorporated and registered for GST, and
  • 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 Priming 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 a SME.

5. Am I an SME if I am a Sole Trader in Australia?

No as you need to be an incorporated entity

6. 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.

7. Can I have more than one research or SME partner?

In an EOI or Priming Grant application you should only have one primary partner but there is nothing to stop you visiting other potential partners during your travels. This potential should be mentioned in the application. Priming Grant funding could be used for these side visits within the total amount awarded (AUD 7,000) and additional expenses will be the awardees responsibility. We encourage you to meet as many relevant players in your field of interest that are likely to assist in successful project outcomes. 

8. 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 Priming Grant if their collaborative partner is an international SME within the stated Priority economies.

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

The Guidelines currently state that "Applicants can only submit one Priming 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 support EOI multiple 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. 

10. Can SMEs submit multiple EOI applications for Priming Grants?

In general the above principles apply to SMEs, however, ATSE reserves the right to exercise its discretion in assessing any multiple applications received from SMEs and we do not encourage multiple EOI applications from the same SME entity unless they represent unique opportunities.

Therefore we will only consider multiple applications for EOI consideration if the proposed projects are employing distinctly different technologies and/or are in different areas of research endeavour. In such cases the research partner should be in different geographical locations, universities (including departments, schools and research groups) or research institutions.

Applicants within an SME should also be different named persons. To avoid the use of proxy applicants, ATSE will seek verification that they are indeed capable of conducting the research collaboration in an independent manner and have the expertise required to afford the project the best chance of succeeding. 

11. What is the definition of a Researcher?

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.

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

No. Such a subsidiary is considered for the purposes of this program as an Australian company and cannot participate as the international SME partner.

13. Can we use Priming grant funding to support research projects on SME or Entrepreneurial behaviour?

No. Priming grants are not intended for use to support research projects about SME or entrepreneurial behaviour. They are solely intended to promote the formation of new collaborations between researchers and SMEs and encourage the development of translational activities between these entities. Through the provision of Priming grants we aim to provide an environment whereby collaborations lead to new innovations in products or services.

14. Is GST payable on the receipt of a Priming Grant?

There is no GST payable on receipt of a Priming grant. 

15. Can I use my Priming Grant for Conference Travel?

No. Priming grants are not for use to travel to conferences and conventions. If you are visiting your partner/collaborator and want to attend a side conference during that primary visit you can do so but must not use Priming Grant funds for that part of the trip and must pay for the costs from your own funds.


Updated: 06.10.17