Access funding to accelerate the commercialisation of COVID-19 research solutions to market

The Innovation Districts Challenges are designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of COVID-19 by businesses in partnership with universities and CSIRO in NSW.

Challenge themes align with the NSW Government ‘Respond, Recover and Reform’ approach to COVID-19.

Who is this for

Small to medium sized enterprises that have a product or service that directly addresses the impact of COVID-19 (see eligibility criteria).

What are the funding opportunities

The total funding pool available for each Challenge round is $500,000.

  • Highest ranked applicant $250,000
  • Second-highest ranked applicant $100,000
  • Third-highest ranked applicant $30,000
  • Highest ranked applicant in each Innovation District that is not one of the statewide overall recipients will be granted $10,000, as determined by the evaluation panel.

Challenge Two is now closed

The theme for Innovation Districts Challenge Two is economic resilience with a focus on solutions that build economic resilience for NSW business to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Projects might address problem areas including;

  • business sectors most impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, international education
  • ongoing supply chain weaknesses and sovereign supply chain capacity
  • strengthening local communities in the management and recovery from outbreaks.

Challenge One winners

Challenge Statement: Health and wellbeing solutions that reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the people of NSW.

Grant recipients

  • $250,000 to DetectED-X lung scan artificial intelligence diagnosis and education platform
  • $100,000 to VBreathe anti-viral air filtration personal device
  • $30,000 to EcoAid BioTech biodegradable, anti-viral coating and spray
  • $10,000 to local winners: COVIU Global, Birth Beat, All Metal Products, Criticalarc, Colan Products, YourLink, Energisim, Pen CS, Moove & Groove, Halo Medical Devices, We Are Explorers, The Ripper Group.

Applications from businesses across the State were assessed by two groups of experts from NSW Health, the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, NSW Treasury, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


NSW businesses seeking to accelerate research products or services to market that address the many disruptions caused by COVID-19 are invited to apply for challenge funds. Examples of such products and services can include but are not limited to: solutions that support remote business operations, working from home, remote communications, medical/health aspects e.g. telehealth, automation, sensoring/monitoring, IoT, cyber security solutions, resilience/mental health etc.

Businesses will need to refer to the eligibility criteria before submitting an application.


Exclusions – The following will not be considered eligible for funding:

  • solutions that do not directly respond to the Challenge Statements
  • solutions designed to improve internal business processes
  • a Commonwealth, state or local government agency or body including government business enterprises

Each of the 12 innovation district partners are leading challenge activities in their respective innovation districts.

Businesses that are associated with Western Sydney University or the Launch Pad either through a research relationship or physical location, and that have a high potential research product or service that addresses one of the Challenge Statements, are invited to submit their Expression of Interest via the form below:

Expressions of Interest is now closed

Each innovation district partner will refer the most promising businesses for an initial eligibility check and then work with high-potential candidates to develop applications. 


The innovation district partners will conduct an independent process to identify the top three applications to be nominated to progress to Stage 2. Nominated businesses will complete the Stage 2 Application form and provide the supporting material outlined below directly to NSW Treasury:

  • Completed Stage Two Application Form
  • Budget and commercialisation plan
  • Video presentation up to two minutes
  • Declaration of conflicts of interest and description of any ethical or regulatory requirements to deliver the product or solution to a marketable state in NSW.

For more information on the application process, please visit the NSW Treasury website

Details on the assessment process can be found on the NSW Treasury website

Ms Katie Green
Tel: 02 9413 7522

Western Sydney University
Mr Don Wright
Tel: 02 9678 7200

Macquarie University
Mr Koos Gruntjes
Tel: 02 9850 7469

Business innovation challenge sparks new collaboration

Western Sydney University partners with CSIRO and Macquarie University to deliver the IDC

Western Sydney University is partnering with Macquarie University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to deliver the 3 challenges. This is the first time the three organisations have worked collaboratively to deliver a State Government program to businesses. By doing so, they bring together an innovation arc that stretches across Sydney, from the Northern Beaches, North Shore and North-Western Sydney to Parramatta, Penrith, Camden, Campbelltown and Liverpool. After considering submissions across the combined districts, nine outstanding businesses will compete in the first challenge round with a state-wide pool of 36, each hoping for a share in the $500,000 funding allocation.

Read our joint media release here.

MQ collaborates with WSU and CSIRO

EOI for Challenge Two is now open