Advancing Regional Innovation Program frequently asked questions
Who can apply?
Each collaborative project must have a lead applicant and a minimum of 5 project partners. The lead applicant and a majority of the partners must be based within the region where the project occurs and be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) with an Australian Business Number, before the project commences.
The following types of organisations would be considered eligible as a lead applicant:
- incubators, co-working spaces or other innovation service providers
- councils, regional economic development organisations
- consortiums of private and public organisations
- publicly funded research organisations
- not-for-profit entities established to deliver the regional innovation project.
Government departments or agencies, and government owned corporations are not eligible to be the lead applicant, but they can act as project partners.
How much funding is available for each region?
Advance Queensland’s Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP) will fund up to $500,000 (excluding GST) over 3 years for each of the 12 designated regions across Queensland.
Can there be more than 1 application per region?
A collaborative and coordinated approach from each region is expected. Regions are strongly encouraged to bring parties together into a unified regional approach, which should include a number of activities to be delivered in multiple locations by various delivery partners.
Potential applicants are asked to consider the objectives of ARIP, and note a high assessment criteria weighting of 40% for collaboration in the ARIP assessment criteria.
It is expected that in most cases, 1 collaborative proposal per region will be successful. No more than 2 collaborative proposals will be funded from the total pool of $500,000 (excluding GST) per region over a 3 year period.
Where can I find out more about the location of each region?
ARIP has designated 12 regions, which take into account geographic, population and regional economy factors to ensure the funding provides an equal opportunity for individuals and organisations across the state to connect to their local innovation ecosystem. The regions closely align to Local Government Areas in Queensland as determined under the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) 2016. Refer to the regional map to check the boundaries of each designated region and check the list of the Local Governments/Councils included in each region.
What does it mean to be based in the region?
For a regional lead applicant, the Australian Business Register must designate that the organisation’s main business location is situated in the designated Queensland region seeking the funding. The majority of the project partners must also be located in the same region. Refer to the regional map to check the boundaries of each designated region.
If I am an existing Queensland Government grant recipient, am I still eligible to apply?
You are eligible to apply for ARIP if you have already received Queensland Government grant funding for another purpose, however your cash contribution cannot be sourced from any existing Queensland Government grant funding. Other non-Queensland Government grant funding (federal or local) can be counted towards matched funding requirements but can amount to no more than 25% of the total matched funding.
What are outreach locations?
Evidence of regional reach is essential as at least 20% of the total value of project activities must be dedicated to 2 or more nominated outreach locations. This will help ensure activities also occur outside of the primary regional location for activities. Outreach locations are those places in your region with a lower population density, and are non-central areas outside the primary regional location/s.
I am a potential project partner, who should I talk to?
As part of the pre-registration process lead applicants were required to identify at least 5 project partners to work with on a collaborative proposal. If you are interested in becoming a project partner and want to talk to others about opportunities, contact a Department of State Development Regional Office, or email Advance Queensland to find out more about your potential involvement with a lead applicant.
What is required in the letter of support from project partners?
The letter of support must contain an outline of the proposed level of support from each project partner – including the proposed resourcing or funding assistance, indicating whether this is cash or in-kind, and the duration of the funding.
The letter of support must be formal and on the project partner organisation’s letterhead, clearly stating the individual’s position. Letters must be from the head of the relevant organisation i.e. If the letter is from the council it must be from the Mayor or Chief Executive, from Universities, it must be from the Dean or the Vice-Chancellor, from a business owner it must be from the General Manager, Chief Executive Officer or Chair of the company.
Can I join as a project partner after the close of the initial registration of interest?
Yes. Additional partners can contact the collaborative project’s lead applicant at any stage of the project to see how they can contribute as a project partner. The lead applicant must inform the department of any additional project partners who are engaged during the project. Email Advance Queensland to find out more about your potential contribution as a project partner.
How to apply
- Pre-registration closed at 5pm (AEST), Friday 18 November 2016.
- Staged and full applications open on Monday 21 November 2016.
- Staged applications close at 5pm (AEST), Tuesday 28 February 2017.
- Full applications close at 5pm (AEST), Friday 28 April 2017.
When does a lead applicant lodge a staged application?
Lead applicants can lodge a staged application by 5pm (AEST), Tuesday 28 February.
What is a staged application?
A staged application assists the lead applicant and its project partners to develop a Collaborative Action Plan and prepare for the submission of a subsequent full application. Funding for up to $20,000 per region (excluding GST) in seed funding is available provided all pre-registration requirements have been met, subject to the outcomes being advised of any facilitated engagement workshops to assist multiple registrants from a region to join together to develop one Collaborative Action Plan.
What is the closing date for a full application?
Registered lead applicants can submit their full application by 5pm (AEST), Friday 28 April 2017, providing pre-registration requirements have been met.
What is a full application?
A full application can only be submitted following pre-registration and, if required, the completion of a staged application. Funding for up to $500,000 (excluding GST), less any approved staged application funding, is available over the term of the project (up to 3 years).
What accompanying documents are required?
A full application includes details of the lead applicant, collaborative partners and consists of:
- a completed online application form, nominating at least 5 partners representing different groups of stakeholders and identifying a minimum of 2 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 a curriculum vitae (CV) for each key individual
- letters of support from the Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent) of each nominated partner for the project
- a declaration from the external accountant or Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the lead applicant and their partners contributing matched funding outlining their ability to meet the commitment.
- details of any partner funding contributions.
What is a Collaborative Action Plan?
A Collaborative Action Plan (of no more than 10 pages or 3,000 words, with attachments including a project plan and budget) must be completed as part of the application and signed by all project partners. It forms the basis for assessment, assists with longer-term thinking, requires stakeholder planning and should address the following parameters:
Why = proposed ecosystem | SWOT analysis | regional impact | value proposition
Who = collaborative partners | capabilities | target customers
How = operating model | revenue streams | sustainability | value for money
What, Where and When = budget | proposed activities | locations | timeframes.
What happens if more than 1 lead applicant submits a pre-registration form for a region?
The lead applicant and partners will receive an email confirming their pre-registration. If there are multiple lead applicant registrations from a single region, the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation may contact registered parties to seek a joint application, where appropriate. Assistance in the form of a facilitated engagement workshop is available to assist multiple registrants from a region to join together to develop 1 collaborative action plan and enable a subsequent single application.
From the opening of the ARIP, application forms will be available to view on the Advance Queensland website. Applications can only be completed and submitted online after the pre-registration period. Parties notified about their participation in a facilitated engagement workshop cannot apply until after the workshop outcome has been advised. Lead applicants who have registered their interest (and have been advised of the outcome of a facilitated engagement workshop) will then be forwarded an application form to complete.
Can I apply for funding as a lead applicant if I have not lodged a pre-registration form?
No. Only lead applicants who have registered their interest by 18 November 2016 are eligible to apply.
Additional partners can join a collaborative project at any stage of the project. Email Advance Queensland to find out about your potential contribution as a project partner.
Can I join a consortia if I have not registered interest?
Yes. Lead applicants are encouraged to include new project partners who agree to make contributions to the collaborative project.
I am a project partner, what’s my role in the process?
Lead applicants will liaise with you to ensure you provide the required supporting material for any application for funding. Please refer to the ARIP guidelines for the type of information you will be required to submit. If there are multiple registrations per region, you may be invited to a facilitated workshop to provide input into a collaborative action plan, which enables a subsequent single application.
How can I check the status of my application?
Lead applicants will be notified in writing or email of the outcome of their application.
When will I be notified of my application outcome?
The timeframe for assessment will depend on the amount and complexity of applications received.
What is the program payment structure?
The payment of ARIP funding over the term of the project (up to 3 years) will be aligned to the project budget contained in the full application. It is expected funding payments will be provided half-yearly, subject to project reporting and milestone requirements being met.
How are the project milestones determined?
The application form has a project milestone activities template which the applicant must complete. Applicants must state their half-yearly milestone activities for their project in their Collaborative Action Plan. Successful applicants will need to submit a half yearly project report as required by the department.
What evidence is required in order to receive funding?
Milestone Report—the applicant must provide evidence that project milestones have been achieved to the satisfaction of the department.
Financial Acquittal Report—the applicant must provide evidence of expenditure in the form of invoices from suppliers and bank statements showing project expenditure to the satisfaction of the department.
When the above reports have been approved, applicants can lodge an invoice for the milestone payment amount.
Are grant payments subject to GST?
Yes. All applicants must be registered for GST and while the grant amount excludes GST, the grant payments will include GST.
Are in-kind costs eligible for matched funding?
Yes. In-kind contributions are non-cash contributions towards the total project value.
Lead applicants and their collaborative partners may contribute on a cash and in-kind basis, but no more than 25% of the total matched contribution can be in-kind. In-kind contributions must directly relate to the project activities, and applicants must provide details for calculating the dollar value of any in-kind contribution. This calculation must be consistent with current market rates. Examples of in-kind contributions include: third party staff salaries, access to facilities such as office space, access to services such as coaching and mentoring, access to resources such as IT equipment and software.
Who can I source matched funding from?
ARIP grants will be provided on a co-contribution basis, with lead applicants and their partner organisations contributing at least half of the total project costs (i.e. a 1:1 funding ratio) over the term of the project (up to 3 years). Lead applicants and their partners contributing matched funding contributions must provide a declaration from their external accountant or CFO outlining their ability to meet the commitment.
Cash contributions must be a minimum of 75% of the total matched funding requirement consisting of:
- a minimum of 50% of the total matched contribution requirement must be from non-government sources. Applicants can source cash contributions internally or from investors, customers or business partners.
- a maximum of 25% of the total matched contribution requirement can be from other governments (i.e. federal or local) sources. Any cash contribution from local or federal grant programs must also meet the conditions of those funding programs, e.g. the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science administered Incubator Support initiative also has specific limits for project funding contributions (refer below for more detail).
In-kind contributions may total a maximum of 25% of the total matched contribution requirement and must be for eligible costs.
Can Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP) funding be used to satisfy matched funding requirements under the Australian Government’s Incubator Support initiative?
Yes, Queensland Government ARIP funding can be used to assist in meeting the matched funding requirements under the Australian Government’s Incubator Support initiative (ISi) for projects that support new or existing incubators.
ARIP funding can amount to no more than 20% of the matched funding requirement (or 10% of the total value) of the project applied for as part of the Australian Government’s ISi – that is up to a maximum of $100,000 (excluding GST).
Where an applicant is seeking funding from both programs, they should:
- apply for Queensland Government ARIP funding first
- specify a project within their ARIP collaborative action plan relating to the objectives of a new or existing incubator eligible for funding under the Australian Government’s ISi
- indicate what parts of their project relate to ARIP and/or ISi
- ensure this ISi project includes a state ARIP contribution of no more than 10% of the total value of the ISi
If approved, this project’s matched funding contribution would be funded conditional on securing ISi funding.
Where an applicant applies to the ISi first, without Queensland Government ARIP funding contributing to the matching cash requirement, and secures funding for a new or existing incubator, ISi funding can amount to no more than 25% of the matched funding requirement (or 12.5% of the total value) of the project applied for as part of the Queensland Government’s ARIP—that is up to a maximum of $125,000 (excluding GST). It is the responsibility of the ARIP applicant to advise the Australian Government of their decision to apply for Queensland Government ARIP funding.
Please note the Queensland Government will not provide matched ARIP funding for applications to ISi for $25,000 expert-in-residence projects. There is other funding available, such as the Queensland Startup Events and Activities Fund or the Visiting Entrepreneurs Program.
In all cases please refer to the Guidelines of both Programs for the full eligibility, application and assessment criteria.
Can I commence the project at any time?
The project must commence within 90 days from when the Queensland Government signs the application approval.
Do I have to identify who will deliver all the activities in my plan when I apply, or can I do this over time?
Prior to commencement of the project, the lead applicant should provide details of who will be delivering the project activities.
Can activities be delivered by different parties?
Activities funded by the program can be delivered by a range of service providers or delivery partners, provided the activities are included in the approved plan.
How often will progress reports be required?
Project reporting will take place at least on a half yearly basis, at the end of the project and a year after completion of the project, as detailed in the financial incentive agreement.
What information will be required for progress reports?
A report template will be provided by the department for completion and endorsement by the lead applicant and its project partners. At minimum, the report must contain activity outcomes, which could include the number of collaborative connections, new startups created, new jobs created and entrepreneurial capability improvements.
Terms and conditions of the grant
Are the terms and conditions negotiable?
No. The applicant will be bound by the terms and conditions, which form part of the financial incentive agreement.
You must read and accept the terms and conditions in the financial incentive agreement before you submit an application for funding, as they will not be negotiable at the time a funding offer is made.
If I am successful, am I under an obligation to acknowledge the Queensland Government’s support?
Yes. Successful applicants will initially be asked to keep the details of the grant confidential until it is officially announced by the Queensland Government.
Applicants should note that broad details of successful proposals, agreed outcomes, progress and the level of funding awarded, may be published by the Queensland Government. Some information may be used to promote funded projects and applicants may be requested to contribute to case studies and/or other promotional material.
What are the features of a successful Regional Innovation model?
A discussion paper was released in August 2016, which includes 5 key features of successful regional innovation ecosystems based on research into successful regional innovation systems around the world.
How do those features apply to Queensland?
The program has been designed in consultation with regional stakeholders following a series of 14 consultation workshops held in September 2016 in Cairns, Townsville, Mount Isa, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Longreach, Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Logan and Gold Coast. The workshops were attended by 420 people in total. The 5 key features of successful regional innovation ecosystems were tested and explored:
- Places and spaces
- Communities of practice.
Feedback has been incorporated into the finalised program.