FIAL’s Enterprise Solutions Centre Programme (ESCP) connects businesses with researchers and provides matched-funding to solve technical challenges. The funding is used to develop innovative solutions to challenges and to help businesses maximize market opportunities by better responding to a market need for their products/services. Ideally a project challenge will link to one of the four FIAL “Knowledge Priorities”:
A Global Market Place
Enhanced Production and Value Addition
Food Security and Sustainability
(Further details about the Knowledge Priority areas can be found in the FIAL Sector Competitiveness Plan 2025 pp 20-23)
ESCP is a key offering from FIAL that helps small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers, to find the right commercialisation solutions for their novel product, process or service.
The programme provides limited matched funding to support access to tailored, world class research, targeted at helping you to find the right commercialisation solutions for your novel product, process or service.
Matched funding up to a maximum of $100,000 for a project (for a project with a total cost of $200,000 or more).
Guidance to help you select the right research organisation for your project.
There is no minimum project period. The maximum project length is 1 year from the date the funding agreement is signed.
Applications are accepted anytime until all available funds are exhausted.
Yes, but only if the projects are different in nature. Also, you have to demonstrate resources and capability to carry out both projects.
Eligible expenditure can only be accrued from the day you sign your funding agreement with FIAL. Any costs incurred prior to the agreement being signed are not eligible project expenses.
a.You can NOT make a submission for the same project when you have federal government funding
b.If you have previously applied and been successful for Federal funding, and that funding has finished you are eligible to apply to the ESCP
c.You can submit an application if you have state funding, but that state funding cannot form part of your matched cash contribution towards the project
Yes, so long as your second application is for a different purpose / project.
No, start-up companies who are not in the market and do not have a history of 1 year of continuous commercial sales are not eligible for funding.
No. The programme is open to businesses of all sizes.
The earliest project start date is the date that the applicant enters into an agreement with FIAL. FIAL we will not provide grant funding to unsuccessful applicants, and is not responsible for any expenditure by successful applicants until a funding agreement is in place. Any expenses prior to an agreement being signed will not be eligible project expenses.
Both public and/or private agencies are eligible
Private organisations that are not registered as research providers will be considered but they must first be authorized by FIAL
Typically a research organisation needs to demonstrate previous successful experience in researching the same or a related topic using sound research principals and approaches.
No, but it does make the approval process faster if there is an identified research partner. A research partner must be identified and approved before you sign your agreement with FIAL to receive your funding.
Yes. However, each provider must still be approved. FIAL prefers that the applicants and research organisations agree on one research agency to be the principal research provider, where more than one research provider is required. The principal research provider must coordinate the project in partnership with the successful applicant(s).
Application can be submitted online through our website: www.fial.com.au
A selection panel of FIAL team members, the Food and Agribusiness Director from the Entrepreneursâ€™ Programme (Department of Industry Innovation and Science) and their nominee, as well as two external judges appointed by FIAL, review all applications, and shortlist successful ones.
Yes. However, any re-submission must be substantially different to the first application. FIAL may refuse to accept a new application if it is substantially similar to a previous ineligible or unsuccessful application.
Approximately 8 weeks. However, the selection process timeframe is dependent on a range of factors including the quality of an application and the ability of applicants to provide additional information if required.
Successful applicants will be notified in writing and will be required to enter into a legal agreement with FIAL before being entitled to payment of project funds.
Projects will not commence until you have signed your agreement with FIAL. This must be signed and finalised within 60 days from the day you are notified that your application is successful.
Failure to finalise contracts within 60 days from that date, will result in the withdrawal of the offer by FIAL.
Yes. FIAL has appropriate processes in place for commercially sensitive information.
FIAL has robust conflict of interest processes for all staff members and contractors, conflict of interest will be managed.
No. FIAL will not own project IP. You will own the IP arising from the project. If you wish, you may grant FIAL permission to use and share the IP (or part of the IP) for the benefit of the industry. However, if you fail to commercialise the IP within 3 years from the date the project is completed, FIAL will take ownership of IP.
No. Although there are some reporting obligations (see Project Reporting and Management below), your IP will not be shared with other companies. Only a generic overview of the type of challenge, solution, benefits and learnings of the project is shared (Case-Study).
a)You must provide a one page Case-Study of what has been learned through the project, 2 weeks after the project is completed. You and the researcher must approve the Case-study content before providing this to FIAL. A standard format can be provided by FIAL at the time of reporting.
b)In addition to the case study, you will need to provide an In-Confidence-Report which contains information relating to project processes, learnings, trainings and outcomes. It also describes the nature and application of any IP (without specifics of the actual IP created by or for the Company).
c)Successful applicants are also expected to be able to demonstrate, when requested, evidence of their payments to the project using standard accounting practices.
a)The In-Confidence-Report will be held by FIAL but may be shared with the Federal Government if requested. In this case the applicant and researcher will be notified of the request.
b)The Case Study will be uploaded onto the FIAL website and used in promotion of the ESCP the Food and Agriculture Sector more widely.
The project will be managed by you, or a person agreed to by the research organisation and you.
You will be required to provide a payment schedule as part of your application. Details of your payment will be specified in schedule and will be agreed upon with FIAL. Note that no payments will be made before you have signed your agreement with FIAL.
In all cases, the final payment will not be made until you have submitted your Case-Study and In-Confidence Report (see Project Reporting and Management); and you have confirmed that all internal training has been rolled out.
The total grant amount specified in the funding agreement is the maximum grant amount that can be paid for the particular project.
Yes, they are. Grant payments include the GST component.
Grants under the programme are typically treated as assessable income for taxation purposes, unless specifically exempted.
FIAL does not provide any advice on tax, and recommends that grant recipients seek independent professional advice on this matter.
a)Typically, capital items are not eligible for funding. There is an exception for small, non-production based items that are essential for undertaking the research. These items must be specified in the application. FIAL will assess your application to determine whether to approve the exemption or not.
b)Capital items cannot contribute to more than 25% of your cash co-contribution.
c)All approved capital items must be purchased using your cash-contribution to the project, not FIALâ€™s funding.
d)If the capital items are pre-existing, they will not count towards your cash-contribution to the project. Only capital items that you must purchase will.
e)Equipment modifications are typically not eligible.
The standard terms of the funding agreement with FIAL are not negotiable. The schedules covering project details, milestones, payments, reporting requirements etc., which are specific to each project (based on information provided in the application) are negotiable.
Where unexpected circumstances have affected project progress, you can request a variation, including changes to project milestones or an extension of time up to a maximum of 3 months.
FIAL has absolute discretion to approve the variation request â€“ variation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Matched funding means FIAL will match your cash contribution towards the project, up to a maximum of $100,000. e.g. for a project with a total cost of $250,000, FIAL will provide $100,000 and the applicant $150,000.
Funds are provided to you because you are the one applying for the funding, not the research organisation. You invoice FIAL for the FIAL portion of the research costs.
You must demonstrate that both your portion, and FIALâ€™s portion have been paid, so as to cover all research costs.
You do not need to have all matched funding at the time of the application. However, prior to signing your agreement with FIAL you must either have your matched-funding, or show evidence that you have the ability to make payments, as detailed in the agreement, when they are due. You must have the funding prior to signing your agreement with FIAL. Contributions by the applicant will be monitored throughout the project against the milestones and payment schedule in the signed agreement. FIAL funding may be suspended if there are discrepancies.
No, because there are inherent risks and challenges in getting a new project, process or service to market.
Cash means the financial contribution directly paid to a research organization for completion of milestones listed in the agreement. Cash does not cover the cost of provision of materials, labour or services used in the project and that are provided by you; this is considered an in-kind contribution.
No - this is not eligible project expenditure.
See comments under the Grant Money section above.
No. Internal staff costs are considered in-kind contribution.
Researchersâ€™ salaries directly related to the research activities. Your salaries cannot be incorporated into the project costing. University faculty or school overheads are not included.
Project Manager expenses may be included where they form part of the overall research costs; this should be agreed with the research organisation prior to submission of an application.
Yes but only if it is directly related to the research. Outsourced activities must be highlighted in the application and approved by FIAL. All outsourced activities not requiring direct payment by you are considered in-kind contributions and are not eligible project expenses.
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