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ARENA Research and Development Program


This program aims to support research to accelerate the development of potential renewable energy export supply chains (e.g. through cost and/or efficiency improvements), in acknowledgement of the broader impact this is likely to have on the creation of international demand for Australian renewable energy.

The objectives of the program are to provide funding to deliver the following outcomes:
- A range of high quality and innovative Renewable Energy Technologies that enhance Australia’s world-class research position and/or address conditions specific to Australia.
- An increase in skills, capacity and knowledge relevant to the Round’s Priority Renewable Energy Technologies within Australia.
- An increase in investment that improves the Technology Readiness and Commercial Readiness of the Round’s Priority Renewable Energy Technologies.

The funding priorities for Round 4 are to accelerate the development of a potential renewable energy export supply chain, through research and development on one or more of the following:
- The production of gaseous hydrogen (or direct production of a hydrogen carrier suitable for export) using renewable energy, including lowering the cost and/or improving the efficiency of established methods.
- The conversion of gaseous hydrogen to a substance or form suitable for export, including reducing the cost and/or improving the efficiency of established methods.
- The conversion of an exportable substance to hydrogen, including reducing the cost and/or improving the efficiency of established methods.
- The use of hydrogen and/or an exportable substance as an energy source, including reducing the cost and/or improving the efficiency of established methods.

Grants between $500,000 and $5 million are available on a dollar-for-dollar matched funding basis.

A total funding pool of up to $300 million is available from 2013 to 2022, of which up to $20 million is allocated for Round 4. This amount may be reduced or increased at the discretion of the ARENA Board.

The application is a two-stage process:
- Expression of interest: Opened 20 December 2017 and closed 28 February 2018
- Full application: 29 March 2018, ARENA will notify applicants with successful EOIs. The expected timeframe for preparation of a full application is six weeks.

Who Can Apply?

Eligible applicants must:
- At the time of applying, hold an Australian Business Number (ABN).
- Be either of the following:
a) An eligible Australian research institution.
b) An Australian entity incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

The following Australian research institutions are eligible to apply:
- An Australian university
- Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) including Data61
- Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
- Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)
- Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs)
- National Measurement Institute (NMI)
- Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence

Eligible Activities

Eligible projects must:
- Meet the definition of research and development activities. For the purposes of the program, research and development activities:
a) Are characterised by their originality, with the primary objective of the works being investigation, the outcomes of which will be new knowledge and may lead to practical applications, new improved materials, products, processes or services.
b) Include specialised scientific and technical information services, post-graduate research, and the design, construction and testing of prototypes (pilot plants where new data is evaluated).
c) Do not include basic or blue sky research (Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 1), the implementation of innovations (including trial production and copying of prototypes), education and training of students (except post-graduate research), maintenance of national and international standards, feasibility studies, business models
or marketing and market studies.
- Involve development of technologies that are assessed as having achieved a TRL between 2-6 (inclusive) at the time of applying.
- Involves renewable energy technologies, which may include:
a) Hybrid technologies
b) Technologies (including enabling technologies) that are related to renewable energy technologies
- Meets one or more of the program’s priorities for Round 4.

Project dates must fall between 1 July 2018 - 31 Jan 2022, with a maximum project length being 3.5 years.

Main Assessment Criteria

The main assessment criteria include:
- Applicant's capability and capacity
- Contributes to program objectives and round priorities
- Project design and methodology
- Financial viability and co-funding commitment
- Knowledge sharing

Please refer to the Guidelines for the complete list of the assessment criteria.


The following are ineligible for funding:
- Programs which:
a) Use feedstocks from a non-renewable source (e.g. coal)
b) Involve commercially ready uses of hydrogen as an energy source (e.g. hydrogen fuel cell vehicles)
c) Export biomass

  • Start-up
  • Research & Development
  • Marketing
  • Export
  • Business Support
Documentation Uploaded
Recipients 2018-01-29 Download
FAQs 2018-01-29 Download
Media Release 2018-01-29 Download
Guidelines 2018-01-29 Download

Use these documents as a guide only - always get the latest direct from the Administrator

Status Pending
Opening Date 20 Dec 2017
Start By Date 14 Feb 2018
Closing Date 28 Feb 2018
Closing Information
The next funding round is yet to be announced.

Funding Type Grant
Min.Funding $500,000
Max.Funding $5M
Total Funding Pool $300M(Est)
Co-contribution Yes 1:1
Competitive Yes
Eligible Activities
Innovation and R&D
Environment and Sustainability
Education : Other
Environment : Energy
Gender Any
Who Can Apply?
Energy and Renewables
Difficulty Rating