Key Capability Area Grants Funding Program

Applications have now closed for the 2017-18 ACT Government Key Capability Area funding round. A total of $750,000 is available for projects that make a major contribution to the development of the ACT’s key opportunities from priority sectors including cyber security, renewable energy, space and spatial information, plant and agricultural sciences, healthy and active living and further education partnerships. Continue reading below for more information and on how to apply.

Application Timelines

  • Program opens – Monday, 18 December 2017
  • Deadline for applications – 5pm, Friday, 9 March 2018

Applications are now closed.

Where to Apply

To submit your application visit this link - KCA Application Form. Continue reading for more information on the Program application process.


A strong and sustainable economy is essential to meet the needs of the Canberra community now and into the future. It is essential that the ACT grows its economy by diversifying the non-public service sector. The education and research sector, and the sector specialisations and growth building assets within it, have been identified as a primary driver of long term wealth creation and jobs in the ACT economy. The following key capability areas (KCAs) have been identified for priority sector development in the ACT.

  • Cyber Security: Canberra’s innovative, knowledge driven economy coupled with cutting edge infrastructure, high technology companies and national security organisations positions Canberra as Australia’s Cyber Security Capital. This enable Canberra to take full advantage of the National Cyber Security Strategy release in April 2016 which included $230 million in new spending to bolster Australia’s cyber defence capability and the commitments to cyber security outlines in the Defence White Paper. Canberra was announced as the second Node of AustCyber (formerly the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network) in April 2017. Having a node based locally in the Canberra Region will help ACT-based cyber security-related businesses take advantage of an expanding cyber security industry and to pursue new market opportunities.
  • Renewable Energy: The ACT is on track to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020, and will achieve 40 per cent renewable electricity in 2017. The ACT was able to attract the attention of national and international industry, driving price competition and stimulating local investment commitments estimated at $500 million over 20 years. The $37 million industry funded Renewable Energy Innovation Fund (REIF) is supporting the <2 degrees Renewables Innovation Hub, a collaborative co-working space located in Canberra’s wider renewable energy precinct.
  • Space and Spatial Information: the ACT has a unique capability in space and spatial technology industry. It is home to a critical mass of leading space industry participants, including government agencies, multinational corporations, small and medium sized enterprises and world class higher education and research institutions. According to the Space Industry Association of Australia, the Australian space industry contributes around $3 to $4 billion annually to the economy. The ACT Government has been a strong proponent for the development of the Australian space sector and is only now being recognised by the Commonwealth government with the very recent announcement of a national space agency.
  • Plant and Agricultural Sciences: The Australian National University and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are in a prime position to develop and realise the full potential of the National Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Precinct. Similar precincts have been developed internationally, but there is not one specific to the Asia-Pacific region, which puts the ACT in an ideal and unique position to fill the regional niche. The precinct, if fully developed and supported, would afford ACT-based institutions and businesses engaged in plant and agricultural sciences a launching pad to the broader regional and global market, a sector that attracts billions of dollars of investment and profits each year.
  • Healthy and Active Living (Preventive Health): The ACT’s contained scale, diverse and educated population, and potential for co-located or tightly networked activity, makes it a unique jurisdiction to develop community-centric solutions for healthy and active living. The ACT has broad public health and sports science capabilities within its institutions to provide the research necessary to develop and assess intervention strategies. The new UC Hospital can support community-based approaches for those with chronic conditions, recovering from surgery or rehabilitation, and with metal health issues. Stakeholders (including MNCs and adjacent areas such as defence and other special forces) have expressed interest in the ‘high performance human capital’ concept.
  • Further Education Partnerships: The higher education and research sector is already Canberra’s single largest export earner, contributing close to $3 billion annually and employing 16,000 Canberrans. The structure of the local further education market is unique with little horizontal competition. Opportunities exist to leverage the whole further education ecosystem to deliver strong education pathways and vertical partnerships.

Program Description and Objectives

This initiative provides grant funding for projects that make a major contribution to the development the ACT’s key opportunities outlined above. Specifically, projects that will:

  • Clearly identify how they will catalyse the development of the priority sectors;
  • Develop national and international competitiveness in the identified priority sectors;
  • Contribute towards attracting and facilitating high quality investment to Canberra;
  • Promote collaboration between government, industry and Canberra region higher education and research institutions.
  • Leverage co-investment of ACT Government funding; and
  • Demonstrate clearly defined and measurable outcomes.

The Fund has an allocation of up to $750,000 in 2017/18. Applications for funding under this program must demonstrate clear alignment with these objectives. As in the previous year, the funding will be allocated to a small number of projects only. Applicants may apply for an amount up to $750,000 but need to be mindful of the matching cash requirement discussed below.

Funded projects need to be completed within 12 months from when the Deed of Grant is signed. In exceptional circumstances extension may be granted with a formal request agreed to, in writing, by the Territory.

Funding Requirements

Cash and In-Kind Contributions

Funding proposals that are matched by a cash co-contribution of $1 for every $1 funded are preferred. Funding proposals that outline a co-contribution mix of cash and in-kind will also be accepted but may be less competitive when assessed against $1 for $1 cash co-contributions.

For the purposes of this program a cash co-contribution is defined as a cash payment for a cost that is incurred for activities directly related to the project for which a grant has been issued. An In-kind contribution is any activity other than cash, which an organisation contributes towards the funded project. An already existing employee’s contribution to a project is deemed to be in-kind.

Eligible and Non-Eligible Expenditure

KCA funding is intended to provide support to successful applicants in offsetting the additional costs associated with implementation of the project. Grant funds cannot be used to offset normal operational costs such as:

  • business-as-usual expenses including costs and salaries associated with existing employees, marketing and promotional activities and travel or accommodation expenses;
  • the purchase of hardware, equipment or consumables not directly related to the funded project;
  • Expenses incurred retrospectively or initiatives seeking funding for projects or activities that have already commenced; and
  • Costs associated with intellectual property protections.

Selection Process


Applicants are required to submit a detailed proposal that is accompanied by the following information:

  • A project overview including a description of the project’s objectives and how it aligns with the ACT Government’s economic diversification strategies and identified KCAs;
  • An indicative project budget; and
  • A completed evidence-based scoping, planning or feasibility study of the proposed project.

Proposals that are collaborative in nature and/or address multiple KCAs are encouraged. However, where there are multiple partners involved in a proposal there must be a clearly defined lead applicant who is authorised by the partners to lead and facilitate activities supported by the grant on behalf of the other partners. There are no restrictions on who can be the lead applicant, however collaborative partnerships with the higher education, training and research sector would be advantageous.

The lead applicant will be required to submit letters of commitment from partners in the proposal.  Additionally, any matters related to intellectual property protections as a result of collaboration will need to be addressed and clearly explained in the application.

To submit your application visit this link: KCA Application Form

Applications will be assessed against each of the following criteria:

  • Alignment to the program objectives as outlined above;
  • Direct and indirect economic benefits;
  • Demonstrated project feasibility and delivery; and
  • Financial viability.

Shortlisted applicants will also be invited to deliver a presentation to the independent assessment panel outlining their proposal.

Grant Approval

The assessment panel consists of four people as follows:

  • Chair - Mr Ian Cox, Executive Director, Innovate Canberra, ACT Government
  • Mr Geoff Keogh, Director Innovation Policy and Diversification Strategy
  • Ms Kate Lundy, ACT Defence Industry Advocate
  • Mr Tony Henshaw, Chair, Canberra Innovation Network

Applications recommended for funding by the assessment panel will be presented to the Chief Minister and the Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research for consideration.

The minister/s reserve the right to agree that decisions on funding can be made by a nominated representative of their choosing in consultation with, and following written advice from the chair of the assessment panel.

Subject to acceptance of a formal letter of offer sent from the Minister to a successful applicant, the ACT Government will prepare a legally binding grant agreement that includes information on the project, outcomes, milestones, timeframes and conditions of payment.

Where there are multiple partners in a project, the authorised lead applicant will be the party responsible for entering into the grant agreement. The project partners are responsible for entering into any separate agreements as a result of collaboration.

Application Timelines

  • Program opens – Monday, 18 December 2017
  • Deadline for applications – 5pm, Friday, 9 March 2018

Applications are now closed.

Further Information

For more information regarding this program please contact:

Sean Kelly - Manager, Innovation Policy and Diversification Strategy Team

Innovate Canberra - Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Phone 02 6205 8602 or Email