The Victoria-Israel Science and Technology Research and Development Program (VISTECH) program supports collaborative R&D projects aimed at achieving commercialisation of new or improved products, processes or services that can potentially contribute to the economic development and public benefit of Victoria and Israel through the following types of activities:
- technology-based products processes or services
- the advancement of these technologies to commercial readiness
- the identification of steps for realisation of economic benefits for all parties concerned; and/or
- the support of new technologies from proof of concept (POC) to a minimum viable product (MVP) stage of development in respective markets that would directly support businesses that have proven the feasibility of their technology.
Applications are open and will close at 5PM on 23 October 2023.
VISTEC Overview and Grant Amount
The VISTECH program aims to:
- provide incentives for Victorian and Israeli companies to collaborate on research and development activities pertaining to technology-based products, processes or services
- advance such technologies to commercial readiness
- support all emerging fields (except defence), especially quantum, health- and climate-technology, artificial intelligence, and technologies such as digital and synthetic biology which present opportunities to develop and test new products in both markets, and progress Victoria’s capabilities in critical technologies; and/or
- identify steps for realisation of economic benefits for all parties concerned
For both Israeli and Victorian companies, financial support of up to 50% of eligible R&D expenses of approved projects are provided.
- Victorian-based companies: up to AUD$250,000 (excluding GST) per project, provided by the Victorian Government as a grant.
- Israel-based companies: up to 50% of approved R&D expenses is available, provided by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA).
For Australia-based companies, grants will be provided on a 1:1 funding ratio co-contribution basis. Co-contribution must come from the applicant’s own funds or up to 50% of the project expenses. In-kind contributions cannot form part of the required co-contribution. Funds from other State or Commonwealth Government programs cannot form part of the applicant’s co-contribution.
For Israel-based companies, funding is provided in the form of a conditional grant (returnable soft loan) to the projects selected under the relevant call for proposals. The total funding from the Government of Israel via the Israel Innovation Authority, under VISTECH financial support, is up to 50% of the eligible and approved costs of the R&D, in accordance with the national laws and regulations. The funding amount budgeted in the proposal must be aligned with the Victorian bilateral partner company.
Eligibility and Criteria
The projects must involve cooperation by the applicants on joint, market-driven, science and technology-related research and development of new products, processes, or services. The projects must involve at least one Victorian and one Israeli company and may involve more than one organisation from each jurisdiction.
Israel-based applicants must have one company leading the application that presents the intellectual property (IP) agreement. Academic and research institutions are not eligible to apply for funding directly, however, they may be sub-contracted by the companies to undertake parts of the projects which are determined to be reasonable for the project.
The applicants must demonstrate that they have ready access to the required infrastructure and resources to complete the projects. Also, the applicants must have the ability to deliver newly developed technologies to the market in the short to medium term. Project contributions of finances and technology by the collaborating applicants must be fairly balanced. Relevant project issues must be addressed in the application documentation, including a project plan and budget.
Victorian applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible:
- must be an eligible for-profit entity type or commercially focused not-for-profit;
- must be operating in Victoria
- a registered office and principal place of business located in Victoria
- be non-tax exempt
- active Australian Business Number (ABN)
- registered for GST; and
- can contribute a minimum of 50% of the project cost
Collaborating companies take forward parallel applications in Victoria and Israel. Academic institutions can participate as subcontractors only. Israeli Applicants are required to be an industrial corporation registered in Israel and operating according to the laws of the State of Israel, which conducts research and development for commercial needs.
Victorian and Israeli applicants cannot be related in any way. That is, the applicants must be entirely separate legal entities, with no financial or other ties. Therefore, applicants must not:
- be owned by the same parent company
- be related bodies corporate within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth of Australia)
- share governance; nor
- have common directors, officers or senior managers
Victorian Applicants subject to any of the following are not eligible to apply:
- are a Commonwealth, state and local government agency or body
- a company not incorporated in Australia
- are an unincorporated association, committee or collective
- are a publicly funded research organisation
- a primary producer
- the applicant has been awarded funding of more than AUD$250,000 (excluding GST) through any program of the Victorian Government in relation to the proposed technology; and/or
- currently involved in litigation against the State Government of Victoria.
In Victoria, VISTECH funding can be applied flexibly to project-related expenses; however, funding is not intended to cover ‘business as usual’ expenses – for example, non-project-related staff training and development costs. The project budget as submitted with the application shall clearly detail all proposed expenditure items and be subject to the approval of the Department. Should applicants be uncertain as to whether a particular expense is eligible for funding under the VISTECH program, they can contact the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industries and Regions (DJSIR) program manager.
In Israel, only R&D expenses, as defined by the IIA, are eligible for funding for Israeli applicants. For more details on which expenses may be considered as R&D expenses under the program, please view the guidelines documents on the website of the IIA.
The grant amount and co-contribution may be spent on eligible activities and expenditure, that fit within the program objectives, listed below:
- promotional activities
- staff training and development costs
- staff wages
- accessing facilities, capabilities, or services to test, verify and validate, develop or scaleup a manufactured product for new market opportunities
- purchasing capital equipment to support end-to-end product development
- eligible overseas activities expenditure is generally limited to 10% of total eligible expenditure unless you have prior approval by the program delegate
In Israel, the Israel innovation authority makes the final decision on what is eligible activities and expenditure under the program which must be according to the authority policy.
Ineligible Activities and Expenses
A non-exhaustive guidance on ineligible expenditure includes, but is not limited to:
- costs incurred prior to us notifying you that the application is eligible and complete
- defending intellectual property rights
- non-project-related staff training and development costs
- usual operational expenditure, including existing staff costs, communications, travel, entertainment, accommodation and office computing equipment
- routine replacement or minor upgrade of plant and equipment
- printing, stationery, postage, and bank charges
- basic and routine professional services including legal and accounting fees
- any amount paid on account of goods and services tax
- costs related to preparing the grant application, preparing any project reports and preparing any project variation requests
- building routine websites, sales and promotional activities, marketing or communications campaigns; and
- regulatory and intellectual property (IP) fees and charges associated with registering domestic or international patents or other intellectual property enforcement expenses
For more information, interested parties are encouraged to read the program guidelines. Victorian applicants can submit an application by emailing DJSIR, whilst Israeli applicants can submit their applications via the Innovation Israel website.
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