Frequently asked questions
What is the Horticulture Innovation Fund?
The Horticulture Innovation Fund (HIF) is a new grant program supporting Victoria's horticulture sector to work together to innovate and adopt new technology and/or processes for economic growth.
The HIF is a contestable grants program to assist the horticulture sector in Victoria, in partnership with research organisations, to conduct research and development that has practical outcomes resulting in businesses being more productive, globally competitive and sustainable. The program supports researchers to work directly with the horticultural industries in Victoria.
Objectives of the HIF are to:
- Assist the horticulture sector to increase innovation and adopt new technologies and processes that can lead to commercial outcomes that will benefit Victoria;
- Address regional knowledge gaps relating to productivity and market access;
- Strengthen collaboration between the horticulture sector and researchers;
- Encourage horticultural businesses, particularly across industries, to collaborate and share information to help increase innovative capacity within the sector; and,
- Promote interest in horticultural research within Victoria.
The program is administered by the department.
How much can I apply for?
Grants of up to $50,000 (excluding GST) are available to eligible applicants to conduct horticultural research and development that will benefit Victoria. Horticultural businesses, organisations and/or associations are required to partner with a research organisation and/or Victorian higher education institution for the conduct of the proposed research and development project.
Who is eligible to apply for the Horticulture Innovation Fund?
To be the primary applicant for a Horticulture Innovation Fund, applicants must meet all of the following conditions:
Entities and organisations associated with the Victorian horticulture sector can apply.
- Individual horticultural businesses – e.g. producers, cool store/pack house businesses, wineries;
- Not for profit organisations that:
- are an incorporated body, co-operative or association; and,
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or can provide written advice from the Australian Tax Office that no withholding tax is required from the grant payment.
- Research Organisations – a higher education institution or a registered research organisation (non-government).
To apply for the HIF, applicants must demonstrate:
- Eligible Entity – that they are one of the entities listed in the section 'Who can apply'.
- Project Co-Funding – that they have the ability to co-invest in the project, either in-kind and /or by co-funding the project costs (comprising at least 20% of the value of the grant). In-kind contributions may include use of land for trials, or labour to support research. Third party funds may be used to support the total project cost.
- Industry-Research Partnership – that they have a partnership with either the horticulture industry or an appropriate research organisation in order to carry out the proposed project. Accordingly, where the horticulture business is the Applicant, they need to identify they have a partnership with a research organisation, and where the applicant is a research organisation, that party needs to identify they have a partnership with a horticulture business/company. Applicants who are a research organisation will be asked to provide evidence of industry partnership.
- Research Theme – address at least one of the research themes described in the section titled 'Funding Details – Research Themes'.
- Delivery of Outcomes – demonstrate a commitment and capacity to collaborate and disseminate research outcomes and impacts beyond their own business.
- Financial viability – provide evidence of financial viability. To enable the Department to assess the financial viability of applicants and ability to manage and complete the project, applicants seeking funding:
- For grants over $10,000 and less than $50,000, will need to provide:
- Financial report for the last two financial years. This should be the 'final accounts' with Directors' Report & Declaration and should include Profit & Loss Statement, Balance Sheet and Notes to the Accounts; and,
- Where the latest financial report is more than six months old, up to date management or interim accounts (Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet).
- For grants of $50,000, will need to provide:
- Audited financial report for the last three financial years; and,
- Where the latest financial report is more than six months old, up-to-date management or interim financial statements (Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet); or in the case of public listed corporations, half yearly financial report.
- For grants over $10,000 and less than $50,000, will need to provide:
What activities are eligible?
Grant applicants will have the option of using the funds on the following:
a) Research salary/stipend for a project at an educational institution;
b) Salary expenses for casual or fixed term staff to perform a scholarly, operational or field role in the project; and/or,
c) Operating and travel expenses associated with the research and development project.
It is anticipated that the funding period for each grant will be at least 12 months, unless negotiated and confirmed with written approval of the Department prior to the commencement of the project.
Projects that are eligible for assistance from the HIF include:
- applied horticultural research and development that is innovative and likely to improve farm performance, and/or
- research that will improve market access and business diversification activities as applied to the horticulture sector.
What activities are not eligible?
Prospective applicants should note that projects should not proceed to the formal application and assessment process where the project:
- can be better implemented through another government funding program, and if appropriate, prospective applicants may be referred to other funding programs;
- is not innovative and does not improve farm performance and/or market access and business diversification;
- is not ready for implementation;
- is unlikely to deliver practical outcomes within the project timeframes;
- does not strongly demonstrate the need for support that meets the grant criteria;
- does not benefit Victoria; and,
- requisite co-contributions are not available.
How will applications be assessed?
Applications will undergo a two-stage assessment process. Applications will be assessed initially by the department to determine the project's ability to meet the core criteria identified in the program guidelines.
Key risks and issues associated with the project will also be considered before recommendations go to the second stage where the application proceeds to an inter-departmental committee, called the HIF Assessment Panel, for consideration and assessment. The HIF Assessment Panel are responsible for making an appropriate recommendation to the Minister for Agriculture regarding each project application received.
When do the applications open?
An expression of Interest (EOI) is required before a full application can be accepted.
When do applications close?
Applications for HIF are open until 2018 or until funds are exhausted.
How can I apply?
To ensure the suitability of projects, all prospective applicants should follow the process outlined in the guidelines. Requests for funds outside this process will not be considered.
Prior to submitting an application, prospective applicants are advised to:
- read the Guidelines carefully to establish eligibility;
- complete an Expression of Interest form. The Horticulture Centre of Excellence will contact you to discuss the proposed application.