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Cooperative Research Centres Grants Program

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The CRC Program supports short-term, medium and longer-term, industry-led collaborations between industry and research organisations that solve industry problems and create new opportunities for SMEs.

What is the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program

The program recognises the benefits of linking industry with researchers to focus on research and development with real-world impact.

The CRC Program aims to:

  • improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength, and is in line with Government priorities
  • foster high quality research to solve industry-identified problems through industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships between industry entities and research organisations; and
  • encourage and facilitate small and medium enterprise (SME) participation in collaborative research

The CRC Program has two grant streams:

  • Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs); and
  • Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-Ps)

What is the difference between CRCs and CRC-Ps?

Overview

CRCs and CRC-Ps differ in duration, scale, funding limits and collaboration and governance arrangements.

CRCs are about an industry, whereas CRC-Ps are much more specifically about the individual companies involved. The outlook is longer-term verses short-term.

CRCs support medium to long term, industry-led collaborations of up to 10 years, with no funding limit and more complex partner and governance arrangements than CRC-Ps.

CRC-Ps support short term industry-led collaborative research of up to 3 years, with funding between $100,000 to $3 million and simpler governance and administration arrangements than CRCs.

While both streams share the same aims, CRC-Ps are funded to develop a product, service or process to benefit industry, whereas the longer-term funding of CRCs addresses industry problems of a larger scale and provides greater scope to build R&D and research training capacity and to commercialise and internationalise projects.          

Download a comparison table below for a summary of differences between the two streams.

Links to more detailed explanations about each stream are provided below.

Eligibility

CRC grants are open to all industry sectors and research disciplines. Applications are submitted on behalf of a group of partners who have agreed to collaborate.

CRC applications must have among its partners at least:

  • one Australian industry entity; and
  • one Australian research organisation

CRC-P applications must be submitted by a lead applicant, which is an industry entity, on behalf of the collaboration. Lead applicants must have an ABN and be either an entity incorporated in Australia and a trading corporation or an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust.

CRC-P applications must have among its partners at least:

  • two Australian industry entities (including at least one SME); and
  • one Australian research organisation

A partners’ agreement is required for both streams and is between the partners and either the CRC entity or the CRC-P lead partner. International partners can be included for both streams.

Both streams require partners to co-contribute a combined minimum 50% (cash and in-kind) of total project costs.

Projects for both streams must address an industry problem and benefit SMEs. Additionally, CRCs must include an industry-focused education and training program (including a PhD program), build R&D capacity for SMEs and deploy research outputs, and encourage industry take-up. CRCs are also encouraged to engage with international companies and markets.

Individual funding rounds for each stream may have a specific priority area(s) to be addressed. The guidelines for each funding round will identify whether this is the case.

Links to more detailed explanations about each stream are provided below.

Application process

Applications for CRC grants are generally open once per year and for CRC-P grants generally twice per year.

The application and selection processes for CRCs involve two stages. Stage one involves responding to the assessment criteria and attaching the partner declarations. Shortlisted stage one applicants are then required to submit further details in a stage two application and be interviewed by the CRC Advisory Committee.

The application and selection process for CRC-Ps is a single stage process with a single application that is assessed by the CRC Advisory Committee

Links to more detailed explanations about each stream are provided below.

CRC Program assessment criteria

RefCriteriaWeighting
1Project alignment with the program objectives  25 points
2The quality of your (research*) project  25 points
3Capacity, capability and resources to deliver your project  25 points
4Impact of the grant funding on your project  25 points

*Both grant streams share the same assessment criteria, except for criteria 2, which requires CRC applicants to address a research project.

There are some minor differences for each stream in what to address against each of the criteria.

Links to more detailed explanations about each stream are provided below.

CRC Program outcomes

Since its inception in 1990, the CRC Program has committed $5.3 billion in funding to support the establishment of 233 CRC grants and 176 CRC-P grants, making a total of 409 collaborations funded over the program’s lifetime. Partners have further committed $16.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions.

  • The average funding for each CRCs in recent rounds is $45m and for each CRC-Ps is approximately $2.2m
  • 73% of CRC grants in recent rounds have been funded for the maximum 10-year term and 63% of CRC-P grants for the maximum 3-year term
  • CRC grant partners in recent rounds have contributed (cash and in-kind) an average of 77% of total project costs and CRC-P grant partners an average of 65%

Given the significantly higher levels of CRC grant funding, the number of CRCs awarded each round is fewer than CRC-Ps. No more than 5 CRC grants have been awarded in each of the past few rounds.

Learn more about the CRC Program’s two streams

Links to more detailed explanation about each stream.

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