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Information for applicants

The Advance Queensland Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is an innovative approach to government procurement, based on highly successful programs developed in the United Kingdom and United States of America. The program delivers real outcomes for everyday Queenslanders by:

  • addressing pressing challenges facing Queensland
  • supporting innovative businesses to grow and create the well-paid, knowledge-based jobs of the future
  • helping the Queensland Government innovate to deliver improved frontline services.

The SBIR program is open to organisations of any size who are able to develop and deliver a solution to one of the published challenges. By funding the research, development and testing of proposed solutions, the SBIR program provides a level playing field for small businesses with big ideas to compete alongside larger firms.

Successful applicants retain all intellectual property they develop within the SBIR program, and have the opportunity to secure a government lead customer for a tried and tested product which is ready to attract further investment and be scaled globally.

How it works

The SBIR program releases challenges and funds the development of innovative solutions through a staged procurement process.

The following diagram provides an overview:

1. Apply

Complex challenges are released to the open market seeking innovative solutions. An information session is being held to allow innovators to clarify their understanding of the challenge before submitting a proposal.

2. Present

All applications are assessed against the published criteria, and the best are invited to present their proposed solution face-to-face with the evaluation panel.

3. Develop

Successful applications receive funding to develop and test their proposed solutions. Successfully developed solutions then have the opportunity to secure a Government lead customer.

Funding is provided over two stages, subject to invitation by the Challenge Owner:

  • the Feasibility stage, to explore a proposed solution’s technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential over a period of up to six months
  • the Proof of Concept stage, to develop, prototype and pilot proposed solutions which have demonstrated their feasibility, over a period of up to 12 months.

Eligibility criteria

The SBIR program is open to any organisation able to deliver a solution to one of the published challenges, including startups and pre-startups, small businesses, large businesses, and research organisations.

To apply, you must be:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • be able to deliver a solution to one of the published challenges within the timeframes of the SBIR
    • up to six months for the Feasibility Stage
    • up to 12 months for the Proof of Concept Stage.
  • meet all requirements to promptly enter into a commercial contract with the Queensland Government and commence work, should you be successful.

If successful, you may be required to undertake work in Queensland, and will need either an Australian Business Number (ABN), or if located outside of Australia, an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN). To avoid delays should you be successful, applicants should plan ahead to ensure appropriate registrations are obtained in a timely manner.

Queensland procurement requirements

The SBIR program has been designed in line with the Queensland Government Procurement Policy guidelines. This means successfully developed solutions may be procured by participating agencies with minimal delay for all parties.

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.

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 information about supplying to Queensland Government.

How to apply

Applications for SBIR Round 2 closed 2pm 26 September 2017.

For more information, refer to the:

An information exchange day for Round 2 challenges was held 22 August 2017.

Requesting funding

As part of the online application form, applicants were required to provide:

  • details of the activities they propose to undertake
  • the anticipated timeframe to complete each activity
  • the amount of funding they are seeking for each activity
  • justification of the funding requested, and how it represents fair market value.

The funding sought for each activity is assessed competitively and may be negotiated by the Challenge Owner.

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 program.

Assessment process

Eligible applications are assessed by evaluation panels formed by the Challenge Owner, in alignment with all relevant Queensland Government procurement policies.

The following criteria are used to shortlist applicants to attend the Solution Presentation Day, and to select applicants to proceed into the funded development stages of the SBIR program:

  1. Addresses the challenge
    1. How well does the proposed solution address the design parameters (technical considerations and design benefits) identified in the challenge statement?
    2. How innovative is the proposed solution – new to market, or novel application of existing technology?
    3. How feasible is the proposed solution when scaled to address the challenge statement?
  2. Capability to deliver
    1. Does the applicant have the experience, skills and capacity to deliver the solution?
    2. Does the applicant have access to any necessary intellectual property?
    3. How viable is the development and supply of the proposed solution within the timeframes of the SBIR?
  3. Commercial potential
    1. How viable is the identified route to commercialise the proposed solution?
    2. Does the solution appear financially and commercially viable?
  4. Fair market value
    1. To what extent do the proposed development costs represent fair market value?
  5. Broader benefits for Queensland
    1. To what extent does the proposed solution offer broader economic, social and/or environmental benefits for Queensland?

Some challenges within the SBIR program may be subject to the ICT SME Participation Scheme, which aims to support small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) supply information communication technologies (ICT) to government agencies. Challenges which are subject to this scheme allocate 10% of the evaluation criteria to assess an applicant’s level of SME participation.

If this scheme applies to a challenge, it will be clearly indicated on its challenge page.


The Queensland Government collects and collates information from the application form to evaluate applications for the program. Only authorised departmental officers, service provider staff and evaluation panel members have access to this information.

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.

Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third party without your consent, unless required by law or for the purposes of Information Privacy Act 2009 (PDF, 1.31MB).

For audit purposes, the Queensland Government is required to retain the applications and other supplied support material.

The provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (PDF, 897KB) apply to documents in the possession of the Queensland Government.

More information on matters of privacy within the SBIR program can be found in the terms of participation.

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

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