Collaboration and Innovation Fund

The Collaboration and Innovation Fund aims to enhance collaboration between universities and the NSW Government to address social, economic and environmental challenges. The fund provides grants to support university projects, programs and initiatives that address priority goals of the NSW Higher Education Strategy.

The Department is seeking project proposals that align with the outcomes of the NSW Higher Education Strategy, and which benefit or support education and skills outcomes in NSW.

Applications will be assessed on their ability to meet selection criteria including:

  • Clear articulation of alignment with NSW Higher Education Strategy
  • Clear articulation of alignment with NSW Department of Education outcomes and targets
  • Demonstration of clear evidence base and/ or innovative approach of the project
  • Level of collaboration with other tertiary education, government or industry partners
  • Level of co-investment by the project partner/s
  • Demonstrated executive endorsement of the project from the lead institution
  • Demonstration of financial sustainability of the project

Applications are sought from NSW public universities. Project applications that engage multiple tertiary education, government, non-government or industry partners are strongly encouraged.

Applications close at 6pm on 29 April 2021.

For more detailed information, please see the Application Guidelines.

Grant description

The NSW Collaboration and Innovation Fund provides seed funding or co-investment to support projects that align with the NSW Higher Education Strategy, with universities and their partners expected to provide additional financial or in-kind support for the project. Universities are invited to apply for a grant of up to $200,000 for individual projects, or up to $500,000 where the project involves multiple tertiary education, government, non-government or industry partners.

The Fund will operate throughout the life of the NSW Higher Education Strategy, with this page updated when new funding rounds become available. In the 2020-21 Financial Year there is approximately $1 million available in the Fund.

Key dates

Application timeline:
Activity Date
Applications open 6 April 2021
Applications close 6pm (AEST) 29 April 2021
Applicants notified of outcome May 2021


How to apply

Applicants are required to read the Application Guidelines and Funding Deed, and submit their application form via email to the Higher Education team by 6pm AEST Thursday 29 April 2021 at higher.education@det.nsw.edu.au

Please include all necessary attachments with your email and clearly state ‘Collaboration and Innovation Fund Application’ in the subject line. Applications must be signed by the project lead and endorsed by senior executive and legal within the administering organisation. Late applications will not be accepted.

If you have any questions about the Collaboration and Innovation Fund, or the application process, please contact Sarah Hayes, Leader Strategic Projects and Programs on (02) 7814 1239 or higher.education@det.nsw.edu.au.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the decision-maker for applications?

An independent panel from the NSW Department of Education will assess and rank grant applications according to the fund’s eligibility and selection criteria. The panel will recommend shortlisted projects to the Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education for approval.

What is the total quantum of the Collaboration and Innovation Fund?

In the 2020-21 Financial Year there is approximately $1 million available in the Fund. However, expenditure will depend on the number of high quality applications received.

The Fund will continue to operate during the life of the NSW Higher Education Strategy, with new funding rounds becoming available throughout this time. The total amount for future rounds will be confirmed once our internal budgetary processes have been completed. As a guide, it is anticipated future funding rounds will be for similar amounts.

Please check this webpage for current information on available funding.

Over what period of time will grant funding be able to be expended?

All grant funding must be expended within the life of the NSW Higher Education Strategy (by the end of the 2025 calendar year). Individual projects may have different deadlines for the expenditure of grant funding. When a project is approved, a project plan will be confirmed in its Funding Deed.

Is there a requirement or an expectation for universities to only submit one application?

Due to the limited funding amount and timeframe for this round of funding, individual universities are encouraged to submit one high quality application where they are the lead institution. However, universities may be included as partners in multiple applications led by other universities.

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