Industry-Research Innovation Grants

where sustainability meets innovation

Up to $50,000 of funding available to active Circular Economy innovation project 

The Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) program

The Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) program is designed to support industry driven research and innovation, for the purpose of assisting industry transition away from the mainstream linear take-make-waste business model to a less wasteful circular economy model which is based on three principles, driven by design(the Ellen MacArthur Foundation):

o        eliminate waste and pollution

o        circulate products and materials (at their highest value)

o        regenerate nature


What is Circular Economy?

We think it’s important to recognise that circular economy initiatives fall under the ‘sustainability’ umbrella, but not all sustainability initiatives are circular.

For the purpose of the Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) program, initiatives supported should fit within the Queensland Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy’s definition of the circular economy where: products and materials keep circulating within the economy at their highest value for as long as possible, through reuse, recycling, remanufacturing, delivering products as services, and sharing. Also for inclusion are initiatives which address avoiding the waste of products and materials.

In a practical sense that means the principal aim of initiatives or proposals will be around addressing waste and retaining value of materials and products; and any water and energy efficiency benefits will be seen as a bonus.

We are looking for those initiatives that will contribute to Queensland being a zero-waste society by reducing material and products going to landfill.

    Circular Economy Process

    Why is Smart Precinct NQ providing this funding?

    Thanks to the Department of Environment and Science, this grant aims to help Queensland transition to a zero-waste society (the Queensland Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy)

    This opportunity will make a significant impact in fostering sustainability, innovation, and prosperity in Queensland.

    The Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) Innovation Grant presents an incredible opportunity to receive support for an industry-driven research and innovation project. This grant is specifically designed to take your project to real practice to achieve a more sustainable and less wasteful circular economy model.

    Through this initiative, we aim to foster the development of innovative ideas, technologies, and prototypes that embrace the principles of the circular economy. Selected applicants will advance their project to the prototype, pilot, or commercialisation stage within a timeframe of 12 months. By doing so, they will drive tangible impact and promote circular practices across various sectors. By the end of 12 months, projects will participate in a pitch event where they will present their innovations to the community.


    The objectives of the Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) Innovation Grants are to:

    • Support industry to address significant challenges in North Queensland by identifying ways to eliminate waste and pollution and/or circulate products and materials (at their highest ecological and or financial value).
    • Facilitate collaboration between industry, research institutions, relevant stakeholders, and community to develop practical solutions for the region
    • Support the development of innovative circular economy ideas, technologies, and/or prototypes.
    • Accelerate the development of circular economy initiatives from the research stage to the prototype, pilot, or commercialisation stage.
    • Contribute towards regional Queensland’s economic, environmental, and social objectives.
    • Build frameworks and relationships to nurture and support circular economy-based innovation in regional Queensland.
    • Enable pathways that facilitate meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration across research and the developing circular economy industry.


    What will be funded?

    Funding can be used to cover costs directly related to the project including:

    • Developing proof of concept, prototyping and/or trialling activities
    • Pre-commercialisation and commercialisation of project outputs
    • Information sharing and communications related to the project.
    • This is not a complete list and other costs may also be eligible on a case-by-case basis and the discretion of the panel assessing applications.


    In summary, The Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) Innovation Grant will be awarded to initiatives that best meet the following criteria:

    1. Innovation: Redesign of an existing product, service or process, or develop a new product, service, or process, that applies circular economy principles; and show that the innovation could be scalable.
    2. Market need: Indicate what the problem or challenge is that your proposal will address; and demonstrate there is significant market demand or solves a significant waste challenge.
    3. Collaboration: Show how the project will activate collaboration between industry, research institutions, and/or other relevant stakeholders to find and develop the solution; the support from each party collaborating; and what each party is contributing to the project.
    4. Regional relevance: Support the development of economic, environmental, and social benefits for regional Queensland but can be scaled.


    Key dates

    Please note: these timelines are indicative only and may change.

    • Applications open: 3:00 pm, 15 November 2023 
    • Applications close: 3:00 pm, 7 February 2024 – Grant closed
    • Notification of outcome: February – March 2024 (Smart Precinct NQ will provide applicants with updates about the progress of their applications as much as possible but cannot provide a definite approval /announcement date.)
    • Funding agreements established: March – June 2024
    • Projects commenced: Within 2 weeks of signing the funding agreement with Smart Precinct NQ
    • Project completed: Within 12 months of signing the funding agreement with Smart Precinct NQ

    Watch the Information Session here

    Click here to Download the Grant Guidelines 

    Do you want to learn more about this program? Get in touch with our team.


    The Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) program thanks to the Department of Environment and Science.

    Queensland Government logo