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Advancing Regional Innovation Program

Encourages innovation across Queensland and supports local economies to create jobs for regional Queenslanders.

What's important

  • Twelve Queensland regions will receive a funding pool of $500,000 each.
  • Applications must be collaborative and involve a lead applicant with at least 5 partners.
  • Applications will consist of a collaborative action plan that outlines a tailored program of activities that responds to the local needs and stage of development of its community.
  • Activities include mentoring, capability development, and innovation spaces, to connect entrepreneurs with each other and with industry, and to coordinate local efforts.
  • The plan has to show that services are being provided not only in one main location in the region, but at least two other locations across the region.
  • Regions with a single pre-registered lead applicant will be notified to proceed to the application stage from Monday 21 November 2016.
  • Regions with multiple pre-registered lead applicants will be contacted by the department from Monday 21 November 2016 to seek a joint application where appropriate.

Key dates

Date Event Details
5pm, Friday 18 November 2016 Pre-registration closed All potential lead applicants must have pre-registered in order to be eligible to apply as a lead applicant.
Monday 21 November 2016 Applications open Accepted lead applicants will be notified following the pre-registration period and will be able to lodge a staged or full application from 21 November 2016.
5pm, Tuesday 28 February 2017 Staged applications closes Accepted lead applicants seeking assistance to develop a collaborative action plan must apply for seed funding.
5pm, Friday 28 April 2017 Full applications closes Accepted lead applicants must lodge a compliant full application.


Advancing Regional Innovation Program ($6 million):

  • Twelve regional innovation regions (PDF, 1.97MB) will be established, each with up to $500,000 over three years available.
  • 20% of funding in each region must be directed to outreach activities across the region to foster innovation across a broader geographic and demographic audience.
  • The provision of funding will be on a matched 1:1 basis (cash and in-kind).

Regional Network Fund ($1.5 million):

  • $1.5 million over three years to be used across the network of funded Advancing Regional Innovation Programs.
  • The Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, in consultation with regional stakeholders, will determine a range of tools that can be used across the state and support connectivity between regions including inbound and outbound activities.


Each application must have a lead applicant and partners (or be a consortium).

Only pre-registered applicants are eligible to apply as lead applicants.

The following types of organisations would be considered eligible as a lead applicant:

  • incubators, co-working spaces, or other innovation service providers
  • councils and regional economic development organisations
  • consortiums of private and public organisations
  • not-for-profit entities established to deliver the regional innovation project
  • research organisations.

The lead applicant must collaborate with at least 5 partner organisations, the majority of which are based in the region, and are separate entities representing a diverse cross section of the innovation ecosystem.

Further eligibility criteria can be found in the Advancing Regional Innovation Program Guidelines (PDF, 171KB).

The department will review the pre-registrations to identify the number of potential applications per region. Where multiple pre-registrations are received for a single region, all parties will be advised of the other registered applicants and invited to attend an engagement workshop. The department will emphasise the benefits to be gained from parties working together and seek to facilitate joint applications wherever possible.

A maximum of 2 applications from one region will be supported and both will share the $500,000 (excluding GST) available for that region.

How you will be assessed

Applications will be assessed by an independent assessment panel against the following criteria:

  • Collaboration 40%
    Demonstrates collaboration between a diverse range of partners to build critical mass in your innovation ecosystem.
  • Impact 20%
    Provides evidence that the project will develop the innovation ecosystem in the designated region and shows how the proposed activities will deliver success.
  • Capability 20%
    Provides an effective operating model for delivery of services with key personnel experience and expertise.
  • Value for money 20%
    Identifies effective delivery of activities and self-sustainability beyond the funding timeframes.

How to apply

Pre-registration of proposals

Potential lead applicants were required to pre-register before 5pm, Friday 18 November 2016 with their proposal outline, identifying 5 or more project partners and briefly describing scope, primary activities and outreach locations (if known at this stage).


Following pre-registration, the department will review the number of applications received for each region. Where only one application is received and the eligibility criteria has been satisfied, lead applicants will be notified and accepted through to application stage.

Where multiple pre-registrations have been lodged for a region, the department may contact registered parties to seek a joint application where appropriate.

Once accepted, lead applicants may lodge one of the following:

  1. A staged application—Applicants can apply for up to $20,000 (excluding GST) in seed funding to help the lead applicant and its project partners to develop a collaborative action plan and advise on the submission of a full application. This funding will be drawn from the $500,000 pool available for that region.
  2. A full application—consisting of:
    • a completed online application form, nominating at least 5 partners representing different groups of stakeholders and identifying a minimum of two outreach locations, including key partners and supporters
    • a collaborative action plan for activities including focus, operating model, forward timetable of activities, resources, cost structures and revenue streams (signed by all partners)
    • a project delivery team, including key individuals CVs
    • letters of support from the Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent) of each nominated partner for the project
    • a letter from your public accountant or Chief Financial Officer outlining your organisation’s ability to meet any matched funding requirement
    • details of any partner funding contributions
    • acknowledgement of reading and accepting the terms and conditions.

To help prepare an application, please refer to the:

On Wednesday 9 November 2016, the Department held a webinar to assist potential applicants in the pre-registration process. For those unable to attend the webinar, the recordings are now available :

For further information and assistance contact the Department on 07 3719 7845 or email

About the program

Advance Queensland's Advancing Regional Innovation Program aims to turn our regions into hubs for innovation and enterprise. It will enable local entrepreneurs, business leaders and key industries to collaborate closely and with government to harness innovation and unlock business potential, strengthen existing industries and prepare regional Queenslanders for jobs of the future.

The program enables a tailored approach to connecting local efforts, harnessing existing strengths and building regional capability. The intention is to build networks of innovative communities across the state that reflect the diversity of Queensland's regions, draw people together and boost grassroots activities.

Development of the program (formerly known as the Advance Queensland Regional Innovation Hubs Program) was supported by research on the features of successful innovation ecosystems. We partnered with strategy and design company Business Models Inc. and identified five key features for successful ecosystems.

You can still read the discussion paper

Read the discussion paper (PDF, 544KB)

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
6 March, 2017

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