SBIR frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

If you have a question not answered below, please contact the SBIR Team at


  • Do applicants need to be based in Queensland?

    Applications will be assessed on their potential benefits for Queensland, such as potential for jobs to be created in Queensland.

    As such, it is preferred that applicants are based in Queensland, and work is undertaken within the state. However, the SBIR is open to applications from anywhere in the world.

    International applicants should be aware that if they are successful, they may need to undertake work in Queensland, and should understand their obligations under relevant Australian legislation, including the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

  • I’m a large business, can I apply to the SBIR program?

    Yes, large businesses are eligible to apply.

  • I’m a researcher, can I apply to the SBIR program?

    Yes, both research organisations and researchers from universities can apply to the SBIR program but will need to demonstrate how they could supply their solution to the Queensland Government.

    Researchers applying to the SBIR program should ensure they have a clear plan to commercialise their solution, and identify the commercial vehicle they will use to supply their solution to government.

  • Can I submit a joint application with another organisation?

    Yes, applicants can work with partners through the SBIR program.

    Applicants should provide the details of their partners in their application, and are responsible for ensuring that their partners comply with the terms of participation. For more information on working with partners within the SBIR, refer to Clause 5 of these terms.

  • I have a solution, but don’t have an established business – can I apply to the SBIR program?

    Yes, you are able to apply even without an established business. However, you will need to meet all requirements to promptly enter into a commercial contract with the Queensland Government should you be successful.

    Additionally, your application should demonstrate your plan to establish your business and commercialise your proposed solution.

How to apply

  • How can I submit an application?

    Applications are submitted online, through the SmartyGrants platform. See the SBIR Challenges.

  • Can I submit applications for more than one challenge?

    Yes. An organisation can apply to solve more than one challenge.

  • I have a question about one of the challenges. Where can I find more information?

    Any questions should be directed to the SBIR Team at

    To ensure a fair and equitable process, answers to some questions may be published online on the relevant challenge page, with the party who asked the question remaining anonymous. If you do not want the answer to your question published, please let the SBIR Team know when submitting your question and they will take your request into consideration.


  • How are applications assessed?

    Participating departments will assemble evaluation panels to assess the applications. These panels may include technical, operational, policy and commercial experts. Full evaluation criteria are shown on each challenge page.

  • Where are the tender specifications?

    Rather than seeking a specific product or service, the SBIR program focuses on what the challenge is and invites innovators to tell government how they think it could be solved.

    Instead of tender specifications, SBIR challenges include ‘solution design parameters’, which set out what a solution should deliver, and what technical requirements a solution needs to meet.

  • What is meant by an “innovative” solution?

    An innovative solution is one which creates social, economic or environmental value. This can include developing new or significantly improved products, processes or systems; or by applying existing products, processes or systems in a novel way.

  • What is meant by “broader benefits for Queensland”?

    This evaluation criteria looks at the benefits which flow to Queensland beyond solving the immediate challenge. These could include economic benefits (for example, from employment opportunities created in Queensland); environmental benefits; or social benefits.

Development stages and funding

  • What funding is available?

    Each challenge will advertise the total funding available on its challenge page. These funding amounts may be shared between multiple applicants.

    As the SBIR is a competitive procurement process, the funding amount sought in your application will be assessed, and should represent fair market value.

  • How and when is funding negotiated?

    Challenge evaluation panels may negotiate on funding amounts sought and proposed activities when selecting applicants for their challenge, prior to the signing of contracts.

    These negotiations will be based on the information provided in the application, including:

    • the proposed activities
    • the timeframes for completing each proposed activity
    • the amount of funding sought for each activity.
  • What is the aim of the Feasibility stage?

    The Feasibility stage aims to prove a proposed solution is technically and commercially viable.

    Depending on the nature of the challenge and proposed solution, the Feasibility stage specifically aims to:

    • prove the technical merit of the proposed solution
    • demonstrate how the proposed solution will solve the challenge
    • identify how the proposed solution will operate within any design parameters identified by the Challenge Owner
    • identify any technical problems, production barriers or other risks, and viable actions to address them
    • determine if the proposed solution can proceed to the Proof of Concept stage
    • identify key activities and proposed outcomes for the Proof of Concept stage
    • determine the commercial potential and route to market, including anticipated timeframes, for the proposed solution
    • develop an early prototype/model for testing based on the needs of the Challenge Owner.
  • What happens at the end of the feasibility stage?

    Applicants who undertake the Feasibility stage may be invited to submit a proposal for the Proof of Concept stage. The Challenge Owner will assess these proposals alongside the outcomes of the Feasibility stage and determine if the applicant should progress to the Proof of Concept stage. Please note, successful completion of the Feasibility stage does not guarantee progression to the Proof of Concept stage. The Queensland Government reserves the right to not proceed with any proposal at any time.

    However, as applicants retain their intellectual property, they can continue to develop the solution outside of the SBIR program (at their own cost) to release to a wider market for other interested parties.

  • What if I have already proven the feasibility of my proposed solution?

    It is anticipated that most proposed solutions will require a feasibility study to be undertaken. However, if you can demonstrate that your proposed solution is feasible at the time of application, then you may be able to apply directly to the Proof of Concept stage, at the discretion of the Challenge Owner.

    You will need to provide evidence of your proposed solution’s feasibility in your application, which will be reviewed by the challenges’ evaluation panel against the objectives of the Feasibility stage. If the evaluation panel determines that the proposed solution requires feasibility testing, then you may be asked to submit a revised application.

  • What is the aim of the Proof of Concept stage?

    The Proof of Concept stage aims to develop, prototype and pilot proposed solutions which have demonstrated their feasibility.

    Depending on the nature of the challenge and proposed solution, the Proof of Concept stage specifically aims to:

    • further develop a working prototype/model based on the needs of the Challenge Owner
    • undertake a pilot to test and validate the proposed solution
    • conduct the key proof of concept activities identified in the Feasibility stage
    • assess the outcomes of the Proof of Concept stage against the expected outcomes identified in the Feasibility stage
    • examine the operational requirements for the Queensland Government Agency to implement the developed solution
    • finalise the proposed route to market, and steps required so the solution may be acquired by the participating government agency and other customers.
  • What happens at the end of the Proof of Concept stage?

    The outcomes of the Proof of Concept stage will be assessed by the Challenge Owner.

    If a solution is procured and implemented by the Queensland Government, it is expected that the applicant will negotiate in good faith a fair market price, having regard for the financial support provided to date.

    If a solution is not procured by the Queensland Government, the applicant is able to pursue other markets.

Terms of participation

  • What are the terms of participating in the SBIR program?

    The terms of participation set out the requirements for applicants within the SBIR, and are non-negotiable. When submitting an application, applicants are agreeing to be bound by these terms for the duration of their participation in the SBIR program.

    Funding, reporting and deliverables will be negotiated with successful applicants prior to each development stage commencing.

  • What are the reporting requirements within the SBIR?

    Applicants will need to regularly update the Challenge Owner on their progress within the SBIR.

    Full reporting requirements for the Feasibility and Proof of Concept stage (financial and otherwise) are set out in Schedule 3 to the terms of participation, with timeframes for reports negotiated with successful applicants and documented in Schedule 1.

  • Who owns the Intellectual Property (IP)?

    The applicant owns the IP that they develop during their SBIR project. However, it is expected that any negotiations for the purchase of the developed solution will take into account the financial support provided to the applicant during the SBIR process.

    The terms of participation set out how IP is managed through the SBIR program.

    More general information about IP in Australia can be found at

  • What do the Queensland Government’s procurement requirements mean for the SBIR?

    The SBIR program has been designed in line with Queensland Government procurement guidelines, to ensure successfully developed solutions may be procured by participating agencies with minimal delay for all parties.

    The Queensland Procurement Policy 2017 is the government’s overarching policy for the procurement of goods and services, and aims to maximise the economic benefits which can be delivered to Queensland through procurement. Recognising that value for money is more than price paid, the SBIR assesses the broader benefits for Queensland presented by each application, with applications which can deliver additional social, environmental or economic benefits receiving additional weighting. As such it is preferred that applicants are based in Queensland and undertake work in Queensland.

    Applicants may need certain accreditation to have their developed solution purchased by government, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to attain all necessary accreditation prior to any possible procurement of a developed solution.

    Additionally, the Queensland Government runs a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) participation scheme to help more SMEs supply information communications technology (ICT) solutions to government. If the ICT SME Participation Scheme applies to a challenge in the SBIR program, it will be indicated on its challenge page.

    Find out more about supplying to the Queensland Government.


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