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Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) Call for Applications


This opportunity has now closed.

New Initiative for Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) through the Defence Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (ICERA) Initiative.

Partnering Opportunity

Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) through its NGTF program is seeking research and development proposals from Australian SMEs to contribute to Australian Defence Force Capability. Up to $6m may be awarded to the Defence SME sector as part of this initiative.

The NGTF is looking for innovative proposals from agile SMEs who are able to adapt to current national and international circumstances to help contribute to Defence's innovation agenda. As an example, applicants may propose to develop and validate next generation concepts or evolve existing technologies to deliver leap ahead capabilities.

Cash support of up to $300,000 ex. GST per proposal will be provided for projects up to 18 months in duration.

Inter-organisational collaboration will not be mandated as part of this initiative, collaboration will however be supported where it can be managed in a way that is consistent with evolving COVID-19 related Commonwealth and State government guidance, managed remotely and conducted in a safe and responsible manner.

Proposals that are consistent with the objectives of the following NGTF Science & Technology themes and best address the below NGTF priorities and problem statements will be considered for NGTF funding.

In order to align with current priorities as outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the Defence S&T Strategy 2030 proposals will be considered in three Tiers. Tier 1 proposals will be given preference, over Tier 2 with Tier 3 proposals given the lowest priority. Only exceptional proposals in Tier 3 will be considered for funding. Successful applications will have a clear linkage to the below problem statements and will have the potential to mature the technology aligned with NGTF objectives.

Tier 1 Priority

Tier 2 Priority

Tier 3 Priority

Eligibility Requirements and summary of Request for Proposal Conditions

  • Proposals will only be considered from eligible Australian and New Zealand SMEs; with 200 employees (or fewer); which have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or New Zealand Business Number (NZBN); and which are registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Your SME may be incorporated (including incorporated trustees on behalf of a trust), a sole trader, or a partnership, however your proposal must clearly specify the legal entity (not merely your business name) which will be undertaking the project.
  • Proposals will not be eligible if they have been awarded funding (either directly or indirectly, by contract or by grant) for the same or similar proposal by the Department of Defence, or another Commonwealth, State, Territory government Department or Agency.
  • Project foreground Intellectual Property (IP) will vest in the lead SME partner on creation. The lead partner will be responsible for putting in place subcontracting arrangements should they be required as part of a collaboration.
  • Successful applicants will be required to enter into a NGTF Research Contract which will provide Defence with Commonwealth Purpose rights to foreground and embedded background IP. This does not include a license to commercialise the IP. The terms and conditions of the NGTF Research Contract will not be negotiated as part of this initiative. View the contract terms and conditions.
  • Successful applicants must hold and maintain public liability insurance of no less than $10m.
  • Successful applicants will be required to meet milestone reporting requirements, which will include an initial scoping report and a final report that enables the Commonwealth to assess project outcomes, and to exercise the aforementioned Commonwealth Purpose rights.
  • Applicants may be required to provide additional information to inform security assessments. Subject to the nature of proposals and Defence assessments, some personnel may also require security clearances to be eligible for funding. Only Australian citizens will be eligible for security clearances.

How to Apply

Applications have now closed

  • In order to be considered, all proposals must be submitted via the DST portal by the due date. No extensions will be granted
  • Responses to queries that may be of relevance to other applicants will be posted on the FAQ and Noticeboard page. Please review this page to ensure you have the most up to date information.
  • Submission notification emails will for forwarded to your registered email once your proposal has been successfully submitted.

Submissions must be made in accordance with the guidelines provided by DST and the attached Request For Proposal NGTF Conditions of Participation

Selection Criteria and Evaluation Information

Projects will be assessed on their relevance to Defence's Science and Technology priorities aimed at better positioning itself to respond to future strategic challenges. Competitive proposals will present a strong alignment to NGTF priorities and the outlined problem statements, and will also demonstrate a coherent plan for a program of up to 18 months in duration. Priority will be given to Tier 1 over Tier 2 proposals, with only exceptional proposals being considered for funding under Tier 3.

The selection criteria are as follows:

  • The potential to create impact for Defence by assisting in the development of world-leading knowledge or technologies in one of the NGTF theme areas and alignment with NGTF objectives
  • The feasibility of the proposed project
  • Contribution to Australia's Defence industry capability or to an Australian centre of expertise.
  • Compliance with the Request for Proposal and NGTF Conditions of Participation

Proposals will initially be assessed and prioritised by subject matter expert panels for each respective theme. Recommendations from these panels will inform the final assessments and decisions made by the overarching ICERA committee comprising senior DST and Defence stakeholders. In addition to panel assessments and recommendations, the ICERA committee will consider value for money considerations, balancing investment across the portfolio and ensuring where possible that Tier 1 priorities have been adequately addressed.

Key Dates

  • Application Opening Date: Wednesday 1000 19 August 2020 AEDST
  • Application Closing Date: 1700 Friday 18 September 2020 AEDST
  • Indicative Award Announcement Date: Thursday 15 October 2020

NGTF Contact

Please contact Simon Martinovic ( and +61 491 218 499) if you have any queries.

Key information

Applications have now closed

View the FAQ and Noticeboards page for all the latest updates.

Updated 16 September @ 9:30AM

FAQ and Noticeboard