Govt sets challenges for $7.5m BRII round

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The latest round of the federal government’s innovation challenge program for startups and small to medium business launched on Monday, offering up to $7.5 million through a staged process for renewables and low emission solutions.

The new renewables and low emissions round of the Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) has set specific challenges for commercial fishing, safe drinking water for remote communities and alternative packaging for wine.

The BRII offers up to $100,000 to successful applicants to develop and test their solutions over three months, before a shortlisting process for additional grants up to $1 million to develop a prototype or proof of concept.


The program has provided 115 grants, totaling more than $37 million in funding in previous rounds, and is billed as a way of stimulating startups and SMEs. The Albanese government said it has narrowed the focus of the BRII to align with its National Reconstruction Fund and legislated net zero commitments.

“We want to challenge small and medium businesses to make a strong contribution to Australia’s circular economy,” Industry and Science minister Ed Husic said on Monday.

“These grants are an opportunity to bring Australian know-how to solve some of our most pressing economic and social issues, including renewables and low emission practices.”

The three new challenges are:

  • Increasing energy efficiency of commercial fishing operations.
  • Powering safe drinking water for Australian First Nations remote communities.
  • Alternative packaging for premium Australian wine.

Applications are open until April 3.

Modelled on similar program in the US and UK, Australia’s BRII was announced as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda in 2015. But unlike the foreign versions, government investment in the program has been modest.

The program was allocated almost $11 million this financial year in the last budget but will drop to less than $500,000 next year. It then climbs to $7 million and $3.5 million over the forward estimates remaining years.

“I look forward to seeing our small business community rise to the challenge and offer up practical solutions help us reach Net Zero,” Mr Husic said.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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