Collaborative Research Grants

The DSI Collaborative Research Grant Scheme provides funding to enable industry and/or DSTO to undertake collaborative research with DSI Participating universities, consistent with the Institute’s technology themes. It helps to:

  • Facilitate defence-relevant research engagement between universities, industry, DSTO and Defence organisations; and
  • Connect SMEs to research and expertise in order to strengthen SME participation in defence business;

by providing funding that helps to address financial barriers to collaboration and that will produce activities with the potential to lead to larger projects.

Collaborative Research Grants can be used to undertake any collaboration that meets the defined criteria.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

The DSI makes no provision to approve or to fully fund every proposal submitted to the Grant scheme. The DSI reserves the right to reject proposals without consideration.


Up to $50k is available to support collaborative defence-relevant research that either leverages existing funding from other sources or potentially leads to larger projects funded from elsewhere.

Examples of ways in which the grants can be used include: services and consumables for pilot projects to provide proof-of-concept for funding applications; to support SME participation in collaborative research schemes; to cover costs associated with collaborative research visits; to provide time release for SME staff to spend time on research projects; to enable attendance at industry conferences and workshops; to enable access to facilities (eg bench fees or workshop costs); to support or employ research and technical staff; to purchase equipment; to fund assistance in developing specified submissions and proposals.

The grants cannot be used for teaching relief, student fees or publication costs.

Investigators seeking stipend support for students should apply for a DSI RHD Support Grant.

The receiving institution is responsible for ensuring that any legal agreements and IP arrangements that may be required for the collaboration are in place.

DSI takes no interest (unless otherwise specified) in IP or funding royalties.


  • Are you a university, DSTO researcher or an Australian-based business?
  • Are you wanting to undertake any research or developmental activity that matches our key themes?
  • Could your proposed activity include contributions from at least one DSI Participating institution?
  • Could your proposed activity include contributions from at least one other collaborator from industry, Defence or the university sector?

If the answers to these questions are YES then, provided you are not currently the lead investigator on a DSI Collaborative Research Grant, you are eligible to apply for DSI funding to undertake your activity.

The DSI will work with you to strengthen your application by helping to find potential collaborative partners, helping you to understand Defence research priorities and providing guidance on the development of the proposal.

Your application will be assessed against the criteria below on a competitive basis and if it is judged suitable you can receive up to $50k of funding to support your proposed activity.


Applications for funding will be assessed by the DSI Executive in consultation with representatives nominated by DSI’s participating institutions against the following criteria:

  • Relevance: alignment to publically defined Defence S&T priorities and to DSI Technology Themes (see reference document).
  • Feasibility: experience of the investigators and track record; realistic budgets and milestone dates.
  • Collaboration Strength: preference will be given to new collaborations and collaborations involving at least one industry or Defence collaborator. The nature/strength of the collaboration, including opportunities/plans for personnel exchanges and the level of co-contribution from members of the collaboration, will be considered.
  • Longevity: immediate or potential leverage of funds including any schemes that will be applied for as a result of the project.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application within 2 weeks of the nominated closing date for the funding round Call for Applications.


  • The awarded organisation must be a formal Participant in the DSI*
  • The project must start within 3 months of the execution of the grant agreement.
  • The project must be completed within 18 months of execution of the grant agreement.
  • The grant will be paid in instalments on completion of agreed milestones as designated in the grant agreement.
  • The Lead Investigator must adhere to the reporting conditions outlined in the DSI project reporting guidelines
  • The DSI makes no claim on intellectual property or revenue arising from the project

* if your organisation has committed to participation in the DSI but not yet signed the Participation Agreement you can still apply for a grant, however you will not be notified of the results of your application until it has been signed.  Please ask your DSI contact for more information.


  • Applications for Collaborative Research Grants will be accepted at any time and reviewed at one of up to three funding rounds per year – February, June and October
  • Application is via the DSI Collaborative Research Grant Application Form