Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund guidelines

Last updated: 9 February 2021

1. Funding overview

The Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund (the Fund) supports collaborative projects between individual businesses, industry groups and associations, charities and/or research institutions to identify opportunities, apply and scale-up circular economy business models and practices. The projects may also include government or local government organisations or other not-for-profit organisations including community groups/associations.

Round 1 of the Fund is delivered via two streams.

Stream 1: Food Innovation – grants of between $75,000 and $150,000 each ($1:$1 co-contribution) for collaborative partnerships that identify opportunities and apply innovative circular economy business models and practices for food waste or for the food sector.

Stream 2: Collaborative Innovation – grants of between $150,000 and $450,000 each ($1:$1 co-contribution) for collaborative partnerships that identify, develop and/or scale-up innovative circular economy business models and practices. The projects need to address systemic barriers with innovative thinking and practice.

The Fund involves a competitive, merit-based application process. Applications open Friday 20 November 2020 and must be submitted by 3pm, Monday 15 February 2021. Late applications will not be accepted unless exceptional circumstances apply.

All projects must be completed by May 2024.

2. Why is the Victorian Government providing this funding?

Recycling Victoria: A new economy (PDF, 1.7MB) is a 10-year policy and action plan that will transform how our economy uses materials.

The policy will assist business to generate less waste through:

  • innovation and design
  • using recycled materials in products
  • considering impacts across product life cycles
  • supporting business to explore new circular economy business models.

This will create value for Victorians through increased access to circular economy products and services, new local jobs and increased circular economy skills in the workforce.

The Fund is a key component of the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre that is established through Recycling Victoria. The Fund will provide $2.9 million funding over four years to stimulate the identification and development of innovative circular economy opportunities for businesses in Victoria. These opportunities will address priority materials and sectors and general circular economy outcomes aligned to the principles of designing out waste and maintaining produce and material value for longer.

The Fund seeks to support collaborative initiatives to overcome systemic barriers to the development of a circular economy in Victoria, including design of products and materials, industry or supply chain issues and economic viability.

2.1 Fund objectives

The objectives of the Fund is to enable innovative and commercial solutions that deliver the following for Victoria:

  • increased access to circular economy products and services for businesses and consumers
  • increased materials efficiency across sectors and supply chains
  • increased duration of product and material lifecycles and maintenance of product and material value
  • new circular business models and/or materials markets
  • new local jobs and increased circular economy skills in the workforce
  • reduced materials to landfill and other waste destinations
  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

3. About the funding

Each application must have:

  • a Lead Applicant, who can be a/an:
    • Individual Business
    • Industry Group
    • Research Institution
    • Charity.
  • at least one Project Partner from one of the following organisation types (e.g. an individual business and research institution):
    • Individual Business
    • Industry Group
    • Research Institution
    • Charity
    • Other Not-for-profit Organisation
    • Government
    • Local government.

for the purposes of establishing a Collaborative Partnership. The Collaborative Partnership will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the parties that outlines the governance arrangements and roles of each party.

Funding available:

  • Stream 1: grants of between $75,000 and $150,000 each ($1:$1 co-contribution)
  • Stream 2: grants of between $150,000 and $450,000 each ($1:$1 co-contribution)

For both streams, up to 80% of the co-contribution can be in-kind. The type of in-kind contribution must be clearly specified in the application.

3.1 What will be funded?

The Fund will support collaborative projects that meet the stated grant objectives (refer to Section 2.1).

Project activities may be focused on:

  • research, design and demonstration of innovative approaches
  • feasibility studies and information provision on achieving circular outcomes
  • challenges to address collaborative opportunities identified through research
  • supporting circular economy projects in a nominated sector or along identified supply chains that require collaboration
  • facilitating networking and collaboration across a nominated sector or along identified supply chains.

Projects may be focused on:

  • improved capacity and investment in circular economy initiatives
  • implementation of circular economy business models
  • improved take-up and adaptation of digital technologies
  • design-led changes to achieve circular outcomes
  • material efficiency and productivity.

Projects funded under Stream One must deliver on at least one of the following:

  • reduce generation of food waste
  • redistribute food to people to prevent waste
  • make new products from food waste.

We fund costs that are directly related to the project. Types of expenditure that may be included are:

  • capital purchases (e.g. infrastructure or equipment)
  • dedicated consultancy/project management costs
  • business case development and feasibility studies
  • research, design, and/or development
  • demonstration, trials and pilots
  • collaboration- and capability-building activities
  • project evaluation
  • other project execution costs.

3.2 What won’t be funded?

Funding will not be provided for projects that:

  • have received funding or support for the same activities from other sources
  • seek retrospective funding (that is, projects have been completed prior to signing a funding agreement with SV)
  • focus primarily on water, energy, GHG emissions (these may be co-benefits)
  • focus on:
    • waste to energy proposals
    • waste recycling (e.g. composting or other established organics solutions, waste reprocessing infrastructure projects)
    • solutions for kerbside collections
    • waste recovery or large-scale waste reprocessing infrastructure projects
    • household-focused interventions, community-focused share or repair initiatives
    • development of specifications and standards.

Funding will not be provided for the following costs:

  • permit, licensing and approval costs
  • existing staffing costs (unless these are demonstrated to be directly related to the project)
  • operating costs such as, but not limited to, electricity, water and other utilities
  • travel and conferences
  • marketing, advertising, promotional costs.

4. Assessment process

4.1 Compliance criteria

Applicants must meet all the following compliance criteria to be considered for progression to eligibility. These will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Applicants must:

  • lodge their application in the required format by the closing date 3pm, Monday 15 February 2021
  • sign a Declaration where indicated by an authorised person with delegated authority to make the application on behalf of the organisation.

4.2 Eligibility criteria

Applicants are not able to be funded if they do not meet the eligibility criteria. Applicants cannot progress to merit assessment unless all eligibility criteria are met.

To be eligible for funding applicants must:

The Lead Applicant must:

  • be either a Research Institution, Industry Group, Charity or Individual Business
  • have a current Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have been operating for a minimum of two years.

The project must:

  • be focused within Victoria
  • ensure the project activities must largely take place (i.e. more than 50%) in Victoria
  • meet or exceed the minimum co-contribution requirement for funding ($1:$1)
  • be completed by May 2024.

Stream 1 projects must focus on food waste prevention and deliver on at least one of the below:

  • reduce food waste (e.g. ingredients, food products)
  • redistribute food to people to prevent waste
  • make new products from food waste (e.g. plant-based textiles, vitamin supplements, ingredients and meals, animal feed).

The Collaborative Partnership will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the parties that outlines the governance arrangements and roles of each party. The formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

4.3 Assessment criteria

The program involves a competitive, merit-based application process. Eligible applications will be assessed against the following assessment criteria:

What (40%)

What materials, products and/or services are targeted by your project?

What project activities will be undertaken and what outputs provided?

Identify the sector and/or supply chains the project will engage.

How will the project provide the following for Victoria?

  • Increased access to circular economy products and services for businesses and consumers
  • Increased materials efficiency across supply chains
  • Increased duration of product and material lifecycles and value
  • New circular business models, materials markets that incorporate environmentally sustainable business practices
  • Innovative and commercial solutions.

For Stream 1 only – How will the food waste prevention project deliver at least one of the below:

  • Reduce food waste (e.g. ingredients, food products)
  • Redistribute food to people to prevent waste
  • Make new products from food waste (e.g. plant-based textiles, vitamin supplements, ingredients and meals, animal feed)?

Who (20%)

Who will deliver the project? List all the Project Partners and their roles.

Outline the Lead Applicant’s experience in delivering a Collaborative Partnership.

Outline the Lead Applicant’s and Project Partners’ experience relevant to the project.

What are the resources and capabilities the Lead Applicant and each Project Partner will contribute to the project?

What formal agreement does the Lead Applicant have with the Project Partners to complete the project?

Why (20%)

Demonstrate how government support would contribute to the outcomes of the project that may otherwise not be achieved.

How does the project adopt a new approach to address one or more systemic barriers including but not limited to design of products and materials, industry or supply chain issues and economic viability?

What benefits* will the project have for:

  • the Lead Applicant and Project Partners?
  • the target sectors or supply chains?
  • the Victorian community?
  • the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre?

*The following benefits must be addressed in this response (others may also be included):

  • more research and information available
  • increased awareness and understanding (that is, through strengthening collaboration, engagement or awareness of circular economy solutions)
  • economic benefits (for example, increased investment, increased employment and jobs created)
  • environmental benefits (for example, reduction in waste generated, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and increased material efficiency).

How (20%)

What are the governance arrangements between the members of the Collaborative Partnership?

How will the project be delivered?

Has an agreed project plan been developed?

Are there established realistic and achievable delivery timelines?

What risk management strategies and practices are in place for the project?

What are the monitoring and evaluation processes proposed, including proposed innovation, circularity and environmental indicators and metrics (for example, reduction in waste generated, greenhouse gas emissions reduction)?

Describe how intellectual property will be managed between the Project Partners and how the outputs of the project will be shared with the broader Victorian community.

Detail how the project is financially viable.

Value for money (Non-weighted)

Demonstrate how the funding requested provides value for money for Victorians.

4.4 Due diligence

A risk-based approach will be used to assess the applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the applicant’s Related Entities and may include Project Partners.

Applicants (and their Related Entities and if applicable their Project Partners) should:

  • have had no environmental, safety or workplace breaches in the last five years, or if there was a breach, SV’s can assess a satisfactory level of risk the applicant’s breach poses
  • have not been the subject of an Enforceable Undertaking or successful litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman for a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a fair work instrument within the last five years
  • demonstrate financial capability to undertake the project
  • have adequate insurance as outlined in the Funding Agreement and below:
    • Public Liability $10M minimum
    • Professional Indemnity $5M minimum
    • WorkCover
  • have not failed to satisfactorily progress or complete previous projects funded by SV within funding program timelines and without sufficient reason
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to SV’s consideration of:

  • the seriousness of any finding/s
  • whether the finding/s has been resolved to the satisfaction of the relevant enforcement agency, or the applicant can demonstrate it is working effectively to resolve the finding
  • the efforts made by the applicant including implementation of management systems, to ensure no further finding/s occur, and/or;
  • whether, since the finding, the applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant environmental, safety or workplace laws.

SV may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners involved in the delivery of the project. The applicant must ensure that any Project Partners(s) agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at SV’s request.

SV reserves the right not to award funding to applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Partners) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

5. Funding conditions

5.1 What is required of successful applicants?

Successful applicants approved for funding must:

  • agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments
  • provide insurance certificates of currency to SV prior to commencement of the project
  • sign the SV funding agreement within 30 days of approval
  • provide a project plan and deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement
  • contribute to regular project progress updates or meetings
  • notify SV immediately of any delays or change to project scope
  • provide update reports to SV at agreed milestones with evidence of expenditure, progress and performance
  • provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project in accordance with the funding agreement as required by SV
  • collect and release data to SV including national data and reporting requirements during and post project completion, noting that data may be shared and reported in Victoria and for national purposes
  • contribute to promotional activities such as video or publishable case studies and share learnings that may be published about the project
  • participate in and contribute to activities with SV to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (e.g. government and industry) during and after the SV funding agreement period
  • acknowledge that SV has contributed funding in all communications related to the project.

6. Key dates

Please note: these timelines are indicative only and may change.

Applications open – Friday 20 November 2020

Applications close – 3:00 pm, Monday 15 February 2021

Notification of outcome – SV will provide applicants with updates about the progress of their applications as much as possible but cannot provide a definite approval /announcement date.

Funding agreements established – August 2021

Projects commenced – August 2021

Project completed – May 2024

7. How to apply

Applicants should review and follow these steps:

  1. Ensure your organisation is eligible to apply. (see Section 4.2: Eligibility Criteria)
  2. Ensure your project meets the assessment criteria. (see Section 4.3 Assessment Criteria)
  3. Read the terms and conditions of SV’s Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions and ensure you can meet them. Acceptance of these terms is required for grant funding to be provided.
  4. Read and understand the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs.
  5. Register or login to start your Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund application.
    Please note: you must create an account before you can start and submit an online application.

Submitting your application:

  • Applications can only be submitted online (unless otherwise agreed or at SV’s discretion).
  • Applications must be submitted by 3pm on the closing date. SV’s online grant portal will not accept late applications, except under exceptional circumstances, refer to Terms of Participation in Grant Programs.
  • It is highly recommended that you click Save Progress every 10–15 minutes when filling out the online application form. Note: you will be logged out of your application if 60 minutes has elapsed and you have not saved your progress or navigated between pages. If logged out, you will lose any changes made that have not been saved.
  • If you are attaching files, allow sufficient time for the file to be uploaded to the page. You should not navigate to another page until the document has been successfully attached, otherwise the file upload will be cancelled. The maximum file limit is 25MB.
  • You cannot make any changes to your application after it has been submitted.
  • You will receive a confirmation message and email when the application is submitted.
  • If you experience difficulties submitting your online application, contact SV on 1300 363 744 and ask to speak to a grant support representative or email grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au.
  • SV will update applicants on the progress of their applications as much as possible but cannot give a definite approval/announcement date.
  • We will endeavour to advise you if we experience any unforeseen delays.

8. Further information

The Information bulletin contains our responses to questions not addressed on this page and will be regularly updated.

To read our responses, view the Information bulletin.

8.1 Information session

At our information sessions, we go through the fund and answer participants’ questions about it.

Past sessions
View the Information bulletin for:

  • the recording and presentation
  • questions asked and answers given.

Future sessions
To check if there is a session coming up, see Events.

8.2 Questions?

Email grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au with Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund in the subject line.

Alternatively, for more information, view the Information bulletin.

9. Fund definitions

These are the definitions of the terms used in this Guidelines.

Circular economy: 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.”

Charity: 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 be registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.

Co-contribution: The project’s required Financial Contribution or In-kind Contribution to the total project income. Co-contribution can be provided by the Lead Applicant and/or the Project Partners.

Collaborative Partnership: A relationship established for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes.

Collaborative Partnerships will 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.

Direct Jobs: 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 1970 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.

Financial Contribution: The applicant’s monetary contribution to the total project income or financial investment in the project.

Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE):

The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

Calculating FTE

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.

Indirect Jobs: Jobs created by other businesses that come into existence due to the economic growth of your business.

Individual Business: A commercial enterprise seeking to generate profit through its activities, including Social Enterprises.

Industry Group: An industry peak body, representative industry association or group, or an industry-owned Rural Research and Development Corporation (industry-owned companies).

In-kind Contribution: An in-kind contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than money.

In-kind contributions may include, but are not limited to:

  • staff time to manage project implementation (project management and installation costs that utilise existing internal resources)
  • time spent on project activities by volunteers
  • donated goods or services related to the project.

The following activities cannot be considered in-kind contributions:

  • operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering the project
  • opportunity costs such as staff ‘downtime’ during the installation of equipment or implementation of activities.

Lead Applicant: The Lead Applicant is the listed applicant for the purposes of an application and is responsible for all details in the submission of an application. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for the contractual obligations of 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.

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.

Project Partner: 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.

The role of Project Partners will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between relevant parties and will outline the roles and responsibilities of each party, such as governance, financial or intellectual property arrangements. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Related Entities: Entities which are related to the applicant and includes:

  • holding companies of the applicant
  • subsidiaries of the applicant
  • subsidiaries of holding companies of the applicant
  • companies with common directors or shareholders as the applicant
  • companies that are a beneficiary under a trust of which the applicant is a trustee
  • trustees of a trust under which the applicant is a beneficiary
  • companies that conduct business at the same address as the applicant, or the same address as the location of the activity for which the funding is sought.

Related Persons: Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the applicant or a Related Entity.

Research and Development (R&D): R&D activities are experimental activities that are conducted to generate new knowledge or the use of existing knowledge in creative and new ways (including about creating new knowledge or improved materials, products, devices, processes or services).

Research Institution: 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.

Social Enterprise: A social enterprise is an organisation that is driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic. A social enterprise derives most of their income from trade, not donations or grants, and uses the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission. A social enterprise is considered an Individual Business for the purposes of this grants program.

Workplace Laws: 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.