Industry Partnership Opportunities

Research Strategy and Partnerships Office

The Commonwealth and NSW Governments support industry and university collaboration through a range of initiatives including the ARC Linkage Program, tax incentives and matched funding. 

ARC Linkage Scheme

The ARC Linkage Program is a funding scheme that enables external partner organisations to undertake a collaborative research project with UNSW.

The Program works to benefit the broader Australian community by funding collaborative research projects with industry, government or community organisations who are looking to collaborate with UNSW researchers to answer questions or solve problems for their strategic benefit and/or competitive advantage. Grant funding is predominantly provided by the ARC, with partner organisations providing a mix of cash and in-kind support.

UNSW is consistently the national leader in securing ARC Linkage funding, demonstrating our long tradition and reputation for excellence and leadership in industry-relevant research and underlining our clear strength in engaging in real-world research and supporting innovative research partnerships. 

UNSW has wide ranging expertise and experience in working with its research partners, from the earliest stages of research through to commercialisation, on projects ranging from social policy studies, through hi-tech industrial investigations, to medicine. Our EasyAccessIP program increases the range of options available to partners for facilitating knowledge transfer with many technologies being licensed for free.

UNSW's diverse partner organisations span the private and public sectors and include: Surf Life Saving Australia Ltd, the National Heart Foundation of Australia, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Suntech Power Holdings, the Australian Human Rights Commission, BHP Billiton, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the University of California, San Diego – Visual Arts, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Beijing Origin Water Technology Company.

Almost all public, private, community, government and not-for-profit organisations are eligible as partner organisations, provided they are not primarily funded for research or research-related activities by government. 

NEW Continuous Linkage Projects Scheme

  • From July 1, 2016 the ARC is implementing a continuous Linkage Projects scheme whereby applications can be submitted at any time. Further information can be found at:
  • Workshops: the RSPO will be holding range of workshops on the new continuous Linkage Scheme including: 
    • University-wide workshops 
    • Faculty and school-based workshops 


For advice on:

  • Suitability of projects for this scheme
  • How to maximize benefit
  • Enhancing application success
  • Partner Organisation contributions required (including in-kind)

James Walsh
Senior Strategic Development Manager (Industry), RSPO
T: +61 2 9385 7930 
M: 0412 364 592 

For advice on:

  • Alternatives to ARC Linkage Projects for industry engagement
  • Capacity at UNSW to engage in end-user research

Warwick Dawson
Director, RSPO
T: 61 2 9385 7929 
M: 0419 415 872 

Innovation Connections Grant

As part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda Entrepreneurs' Programme, the Innovation Connections scheme  is a facilitation service to encourage and assist small and medium businesses to access knowledge, engage with researchers and foster innovation.Following a facilitated service, your business may seek matched financial assistance in the form of an Innovation Connections Grant.

Up to $50,000 funding is available from the Commonwealth, to be matched by an eligible Australian company, for a project up to 12 months duration. Company eligibility is based on turnover/expenditure – between $1.5-100M. The company must operate in a defined sector: Advanced Manufacturing; Food and Agribusiness; Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals; Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; Oil, Gas and Energy; or Enabling technologies and services of the sectors listed above.

This scheme is ideal as a prelude to an ARC Linkage proposal, or for a component of a Linkage proposal that may not have been funded in the recent round, with a view to a future re-submission.

Innovate NSW

The Innovate NSW initiative provides funding to businesses in NSW to develop innovative technological solutions to key challenges in their market sectors.  

The initiative include four elements:

These schemes have enabled businesses to successfully partner with UNSW to obtain funding. 


The NSW Government’s TechVouchers scheme aims to facilitate research collaborations between small-to-medium enterprises and research organisations like UNSW.  TechVouchers up to a value of $15,000 are available to companies interested in accessing research and development expertise to enhance or validate their products and services.  TechVouchers can be used to fund product or process design, technical assistance, product trials and collaborative research projects.

Details regarding eligibility and funding are available at the NSW Department of Trade and Investment website

The R&D Tax Incentive

The University of New South Wales is a registered Research Service Provider. Companies interested in partnering with UNSW may be eligible for the Australian Government’s R&D Tax Incentive.The Incentive provides generous support to business, particularly SMEs to conduct eligible research and development activities, through:

  • a 43.5% refundable tax offset for eligible companies with a turnover of less than $20 million p.a. (equivalent to a 150% tax deduction)
  • a 38.5% non-refundable tax offset (equivalent to 133% tax deduction) for all other eligible companies
Companies can claim a tax offset for the relevant parts of CRC contributions paid out of the entity’s own funds.  See Cooperative Research Centres Program

Partner Organisation contributions to a Linkage Project may be eligible for a R&D Tax incentive to the extent that the expenditure is incurred by an eligible company in respect of eligible R&D activities and provided that all other relevant requirements are met.  

SIEF STEM+ Business Funding - for Early Career Researcher-in-Residence Placements with SMEs

The SIEF STEM+ Business Fellowship program is a new scheme which provides funding support to enable Australian SMEs to undertake 2-3 year research projects with Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from Australian research organisations.

The program aims to:

  • build deeper connections and collaboration between researchers and SMEs
  • accelerate the adoption of new ideas and technology
  • help SMEs grow into larger and more profitable organisations

The CSIRO’s SME research facilitators work with businesses and research organisations to establish projects and facilitate financial assistance in the form of a SIEF STEM+ Business grant of up to $105,000 per annum to support projects involving:

  • the placement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics ECRs from Australian publicly-funded research organisations and Australian universities with SMEs 
  • development and implementation of new ideas with commercial potential.

Businesses are required to make a cash contribution that matches the value of the STEM+ Business grant.

Details regarding eligibility and funding are available on the CSIRO website.