The National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge is a new program seeking to encourage the development of lower-cost and accurate technological solutions for soil carbon and measurement and meet the government’s goal of reducing organic soil carbon measurement to under $3 per hectare per year.
The National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge is a new program seeking to encourage the development of lower-cost and accurate technological solutions for soil carbon and measurement and meet the government’s goal of reducing organic soil carbon measurement to under $3 per hectare per year. Improving soil carbon content will improve farm productivity and crop yields while boosting resilience to drought and erosion. $50 million will be available under the program over three years.
The objectives of the program are to:
- Fast-track the development of lower-cost and accurate technical approaches to enable land managers to quantify the impact of their land management activities on soil organic carbon
- Secure co-investment and foster partnerships that trial and deploy novel soil carbon measurement technological solutions.
Under the program, a total of $1 million has been allocated to awarding Feasibility Study grants in 2021-22, with funding of $50,000 - $100,000 available to Australian researchers, start-ups, AgTech companies, and other carbon or soil service providers seeking to determine the feasibility of their solution in addressing the challenge of developing lower-cost, accurate soil carbon measurement technologies appropriate to Australian soil conditions.
For successful applicants, the grant will be paid in full following the execution of a grant agreement entered into with the Commonwealth Government. A summary of the specific eligibility criteria and targeted activities is included below.
To be eligible, you must:
- Have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Be one of the following:
- An entity incorporated in Australia
- A publically funded research organisation
- An Australian State or Territory Government agency or body.
Eligible projects must test the feasibility of your solution to low-cost and accurate soil carbon measurement and have at least $50,000 in eligible expenditure. While co-contribution is not mandatory, competitive applications will leverage additional investment in the form of cash or in-kind contributions.
Eligible activities include:
- Developing a feasibility study outlining your proposed novel method to enable land managers to quantify the impact of their land management activities on soil organic carbon
- Collaborating with project partners to plan, design and construct the feasibility study
- Activities that assist in the collection or provision of data or research directly related to the feasibility study.
Merit criteria are equally weighted regarding:
- How the proposed solution meets the challenge and provides a lower-cost, accurate soil carbon measurement
- The market potential for the proposed solution
- Your capability, capacity and resources to deliver the project.
A smaller weighting is also given to the merit criteria of the impact of the funding. This considers the aspects such as the impact of funding on the project scope, predicted environmental, social, scientific and technological outcomes, and any wider benefits associated with the project.
Applications for this grant opportunity open on 10 November 2021 and close on 10 December 2021 at 5.00 pm AEDT.
There will be other grant opportunities as part of this program that will open at a later stage. Such opportunities will include $49 million of grants to support proof of concept, validation and deployment stages of technology development.