Round 3 of the Circular Economy Innovation Fund supports projects that focus on the research and development of innovative market solutions that apply circular design.
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$1:$2. Co-contributions can be either financial (cash) or In-kind. At least 10% of the Co-contribution must be cash contribution.
Round 3 of the Circular Economy Innovation Fund supports projects that focus on the research and development of innovative market solutions that apply circular design.
These projects prevent, minimise or eliminate waste and pollution and keep products and materials in use – at the highest value – for longer.
The projects must be:
Projects must improve the environmental outcomes of products, services, industries, supply chains or systems and contribute to Victoria’s transition to a Circular Economy.
This grant is funded through the government’s Circular Economy policy, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.
Round 3 of the Fund is expected to open for applications on Tuesday 28 February 2023. The following are the guidelines for applying for this funding round.
Find out more in the Information bulletin.
Projects must contribute to 2 or more of the following outcomes:
Lessons learned from the projects will be shared with the Victorian community to stimulate further Innovation and accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy.
Each project can receive a grant between $50,000 and $400,000 (ex GST).
The Lead Applicant and Collaborative Partners must together contribute at least $1 for every $2 funded by Sustainability Victoria (1:2 Co-contribution).
The project must be delivered by at least 2 organisations. In such a group application (known as ‘Collaborative Partnership’), the main organisation responsible for delivering the project is the Lead Applicant, and the others are the Collaborative Partners.
All applications require a single Lead Applicant. Eligible Lead Applicant organisations must be one of the following organisation types:
The Lead Applicant is the responsible Contracting Party and is accountable for the application and project delivery, including coordinating Collaborative Partners. Only the Lead Applicant will receive grant funding. Any allocations of grant funding or financial Co-contribution between Collaborative Partners and Delivery Partners must be managed by the Lead Applicant.
Applicants who do not agree with the Grant Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions will be asked to provide full details of proposed amendments that would render the contractual provision acceptable to the Applicant in the SmartyGrants application form. Applicants should note that significant or substantive variations will not be viewed favourably unless the Applicant is able to demonstrate the necessity for such variations.
Should Applicants be successful, no further amendments to Sustainability Victoria’s standard terms and conditions will be considered beyond the variations included in the application form.
Collaborative Partner(s) (mandatory)
The Lead Applicant must have at least one Collaborative Partner who are a:
Collaborative Partner(s) must:
A letter of support (or equivalent) must be provided by the Collaborative Partner(s), signed by an authorised representative, and must be provided with the application, detailing their:
Each Collaborative Partner will be publicly announced as a Collaborative Partner should funding be awarded. The Collaborative Partnership must be then formalised through an agreement (MoU or equivalent) prior to the first milestone payment for projects who successfully receive funding.
There is no limit to how many organisations are involved as Collaborative Partners.
We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
The following cannot apply for funding as a Lead Applicant (but can be a Collaborative Partner):
Projects must be collaborative and explore an innovative market solution that aims to improve the environmental outcomes of products, services, industries, supply chains or systems and contribute to Victoria’s transition to a Circular Economy.
Projects must represent the research and development of an Innovation for Victoria – that it has not been done within Victoria previously.
Projects should demonstrate Circular Economy design solutions/ strategies to eliminate or minimise waste and pollution and/or keep products/ materials in use at their highest value for longer.
Examples of circular design solutions/ strategies that may be explored in projects include but are not limited to:
For more resources and examples of circular design visit: https://www.cebic.vic.gov.au/about-us/focus-areas/cebic-year-3-focus-area-design
Projects must contribute to two or more of the following outcomes:
All projects must also:
Project activities can include:
The following project costs are eligible for funding:
Funding will not be provided for projects that focus on:
Funding will not be provided for project activities that focus on end-of-life strategies such as Recycling, waste management or energy recovery phases, including:
Funding will not be provided for projects that:
Funding will not be provided for requests for retrospective funding (where projects are completed or have commenced installation at the time of submitting the application or before entering into a Funding Agreement with SV).
Note: project equipment may be ordered or purchased following receipt of notification of grant approval, and prior to signing a Funding Agreement with SV to accommodate shipping and delivery time and prevent delays in completing the project at the Applicant’s own risk.
The following project costs are ineligible for funding:
The CEBIC (Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre) also has the Business Support Fund (BSF) available during this period. The BSF does not focus on Innovation or R&D; it supports projects that identify, commercialise and scale circular market solutions. The BSF is open to both individual and collaborative projects. Refer to the Circular Economy Business Support Fund – Round 3 guidelines for more details.
The assessment panel will assess the application based on merit according to the criteria below.
Describe what you are going to do and what outcomes it will deliver, including demonstrating:
Demonstrate that the Project Team can deliver the project in terms of capability (skills) and capacity (resources), including:
Demonstrate how the project will be delivered including identifying:
Sustainability Victoria may overlay rankings to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent:
A risk-based approach will be used to assess the Applicant’s social, economic, safety and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the Applicant’s Related Entities and may include Project Partners and/or Project Participants (see Section 9: Program definitions).
Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Partners and/or Project Participants) must:
Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to Sustainability Victoria’s consideration of:
Sustainability Victoria may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners and/or Project Participants involved in the delivery of the project. The Applicant must ensure that any Project Partners and/or Project Participants agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at Sustainability Victoria’s request.
Sustainability Victoria reserves the right not to award funding to Applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Partners and Project Participants) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.
Successful Applicants approved for funding must do the following.
Dates may change.
There is no date for the announcement of application outcomes. We will provide Applicants with updates as much as possible and when necessary.
Applications open: Tuesday 28 February 2023
Applications close: Wednesday 12 April 2023
Information session: Wednesday 15 March 2023
Notification of outcome: July 2023
Funding agreements established and projects commenced: The start date can be discussed at the point of establishing funding agreements.
Project completed by: 15 December 2024.
Before applying, we recommend you attend an information session.
The grant program involves a competitive, merit-based application process.
Tips for using SmartyGrants
There will be one information session online. A recording will be available after the session.
Date: Wednesday 15 March, 2023
Time: 10 am
Read the information bulletin
Answers to questions we receive at our information sessions and via phone and email are published on our Information bulletin.
We only publish answers to questions that are not already covered in these grant guidelines.
We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.
Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
In the subject line, use the grant name CE Innovation Fund.
Sustainability Victoria manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one grant for a project, you can only receive one grant per project. If you’ve already applied for a Sustainability Victoria grant and now find this grant is more relevant or suitable for your project, you can withdraw your application by emailing us.
This fund is part of the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria policy whose targets include reducing total waste generation by 15% per capita by 2030.
Action 1.1 of the policy is to deliver the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC), which fosters business Innovation and collaboration across supply chains to reduce waste, increase reuse and generate new streams of revenue for Businesses. This fund is part of CEBIC’s programs.
CEBIC is focused on one of the policy's goals: design to last, repair and recycle. It seeks to generate less waste in Businesses through Innovation and design.
The Fund is part of the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC). CEBIC’s objectives are to enable innovative and commercial solutions that deliver the following for Victoria:
One of CEBIC’s core functions is to share research, market intelligence and best-practice insights. The requirement to provide a publishable version of all written project outputs for sharing publicly is intended to enable the outcomes of the funded projects to be disseminated through CEBIC.
Collaboration has been recognised as a fundamental part of the transition to a more Circular Economy. This was a common theme during consultation undertaken during the development of CEBIC. This fund has been designed to support collaboration. Other funding programs enable individual organisations to apply for funding.
The Applicant who applies for the funding and is responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. Applicants must be legally constituted organisations and with a current ABN that has been active for a minimum of 2 years by the application closing date.
Bioenergy is the production of energy from biomass materials such as the by-products of agricultural, food and forestry industries, as well as domestic and industrial waste management systems. Examples include anaerobic digestion, fermentation, liquefaction, pyrolysis, gasification, plasma techno, torrefaction, direct combustion (incineration), indirect combustion, hydrothermal carbonisation.
This refers to liquid fuel derived directly from biomass, for example, biodiesel (a diesel substitute) and bioethanol.
A commercial enterprise seeking to generate profit through its activities, including Social Enterprises.
A Charity is an organisation that is Not-for-profit and has only charitable purposes that are for the public benefit. A Charity must not be an individual, political party or government entity, and must be registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.
The Recycling Victoria policy describes a Circular Economy as:
“A Circular Economy continually seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, while enabling economic growth through more productive use of natural resources.
It allows us to avoid waste with good design and effective recovery of materials that can be reused.
It promotes more efficient Business models that encourage intense and efficient product use, such as sharing products between multiple users, or supplying a product as a service that includes maintenance, repair and disposal.
The value people obtain from the resources used to create goods and services increases.
It transforms our linear economy mindset—take, use and throw away—and fosters Innovation and productivity that invigorates existing Businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs and more growth for local, regional, state and global economies.”
Circular Products and Services
Those that align with the principles of a Circular Economy:
The Applicant’s required cash or In-kind Contribution to the total project income. Co-contributions must be for eligible activities.
A relationship established between a Lead Applicant and Project Partner/s for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes. Collaborative Partnerships need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the partners that outlines the governance, financial and intellectual property arrangements and roles and responsibilities of each party. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.
Any organisation engaged in charitable or other community-based activity operating under Australian law and not established for the purpose of making a profit. This definition can include Not-for-profit entities pursuing a range of ‘for-profit’ commercial activities. It can also include organisations engaged in advocacy or other activities that may not be primarily charitable in nature. Unincorporated entities are ineligible to apply.
The Delivery Partner provides support to the project through their experience, skills, or resources (e.g. a consultant), but does not provide Co-contributions.
Actual new full-time positions created by your Business. This can include training or upskilling of employees who would otherwise be made redundant through the implementation of your project.
Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breach
An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and Workplace Laws.
Environmental and Safety Laws
Environmental and safety laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 2017 or any other legislation, regulation, order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.
Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE)
The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.
The calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working the following - 40, 40 and 20 hours per week, giving you 100 hours per week in total.
Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.
Industry Groups or Associations
An industry group or association, also known as an industry trade association, Business association, sector association or industry body, is an organisation founded and funded by Businesses that operate in a specific industry.
An In-kind Contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than cash.
In-kind contributions should include the cost for activities that are directly related to delivering your project. Examples include:
The following activities cannot be considered as In-kind Contributions:
Applicants must fairly justify how they determined the dollar value for In-kind Contributions.
An Innovation is something new, different, or better, that creates value. It may be the first of its kind, inspired by others’ solutions, or copied. For this grant program, it must not have been done before in Victoria.
The listed Applicant for the purposes of a Collaborative Partnership. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. The Lead Applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables of the Collaborative Partnership.
Materials Efficiency / Resource Efficiency
Materials Efficiency is about doing more with less and ultimately saving money. It means producing a product or service using less input materials or producing more product or service for the same amount of material.
There are many actions that Businesses can take to improve Materials Efficiency ranging from process or systems changes to reduce wastage or improve productivity; through changing how input materials are measured and loaded; to redesigning products and services so they use less material to make. Wasted or unused materials is lost revenue. Simply put, it’s money down the drain.
A Not-for-profit (NFP) organisation is an entity that does not operate for the profit or gain (either direct or indirect) of particular people. Unincorporated entities are ineligible to apply.
Other Not-for-profit Organisation
An organisation that provides services to the community and does not seek to generate profit through its activities (either direct or indirect). For the purposes of this grant program, the definition of Other Not-for-profit Organisation does not include a Charity or an Industry Group.
An organisation engaged by the Applicant to assist in the delivery of the Applicant’s project, including but not limited to major subcontractors, contractors, product suppliers and consultants.
An organisation/s in a Collaborative Partnership with a Lead Applicant that have a critical role in the project and a formal commitment to delivering the support required to ensure the project’s success.
Entities which are related to the Applicant, including:
Typically refers to converting waste into a reusable material and often then using recovered material to produce something new. It is a term that may be used to cover a wide range of activities, including collection, sorting, reprocessing and manufacture into new products.
Recycled Content Products
Production of new products using materials recovered from Recycling processes, for example the production of new PET bottles using Recycled plastics as the material input (rPET).
A process defined as using a product more than once in its original form, for the same purpose or a different purpose, by buying or otherwise obtaining second-hand items; renting or accessing products through a sharing platform; and/or repairing products rather than discarding and purchasing a replacement.
A comprehensive and rigorous industrial process by which a previously sold, leased, used, worn, or non-functional product or part is returned to a “like-new” or “better-than-new” condition, from both a quality and performance perspective, through a controlled, reproducible, and sustainable process (ANSI Standard).
Like Remanufacturing, Refurbishment can refer to range of processes, from testing to rebuilding. A product can be Refurbished by the original manufacturer, the original vendor or another third party. At a minimum, a Refurbished product should function properly and without defect. Refurbishment is often a less thorough and costly process compared to Remanufacture as the vendor is not required to meet the ANSI Standard of Remanufactured. Refurbished is generally superior to a ‘used’ product, which may not be tested and may or may not be defective or lesser quality in some way.
A process whereby surplus un-used products (often food) that would otherwise have ended up as waste are, instead, made available for people to use or consume. In the Circular Economy, Redistribution is similar to ‘Re-use’ however this definition is not suitable for food and other products that have not yet been used or may only be used a single time (e.g. collecting unsold bread from a bakery and Redistributing it to people in need).
A Research Institution can be a tertiary education institution, a government agency established for the purpose of research, a Cooperative Research Centre, an Institute or Centre for Research or a privately owned and accredited research facility. Consultancies are not considered to be Research Institutions for the purpose of this grants program.
A Social Enterprise is a Business that trades to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.
Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the Applicant or a Related Entity.
Waste Destinations are specific locations where waste products are disposed to at their end of useful life, including resource recovery facilities.
In this fund, Waste Destinations include (but are not limited to):
Waste to energy
Waste-to-energy technology is an energy recovery process that converts chemicals from waste residues into practical forms of energy like electricity, heat or steam.
Workplace Laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.
Phone Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
In the email subject line, use the grant name CE Business Support Fund.