Queensland–Germany Bioeconomy Collaborative Science Program guidelines

Applications for the 2023 Round have closed.


According to the International Advisory Council of the Global Bioeconomy, the bioeconomy is “the production, use and conservation of biological resources, including related knowledge, science, technology, and innovation to provide information, products, processes and services to all economic sectors with the aim of moving towards a sustainable economy”.

The bioeconomy offers tailor-made solutions to the most urgent societal challenges, such as food security, climate change and the protection of natural resources. The bioeconomy will enable us to use natural and renewable resources instead of fossil resources. It combines economic growth with sustainability, which makes the bio-based economy an important driver for innovation.

The transformation of the economy and society is already moving towards a sustainable way of life and economic activity that is based on biological resources and principles. The bio-based economy is demonstrating its power of innovation in a growing number of industrial sectors with new products and services.

To accelerate the transformation to a bio-based economy, the support of research and technology development is important. This requires not only state and national initiatives, but also increased international cooperation.

About the program

The Queensland Government, through the Department of Environment and Science (DES) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Science in Germany (BMBF) have established the Queensland-German Bioeconomy Collaborative Science Program (the program) under the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDoI) for Cooperation in Bioeconomy .

The objectives of this program are to:

  • create and strengthen collaborative relationships between Queensland-based and German researchers to facilitate the sharing and development of complementary expertise
  • enable Queensland-based and German researchers to undertake projects that address current and significant scientific challenges relevant to the development of a bioeconomy
  • demonstrate the potential of the bioeconomy to contribute to reducing emissions and transitioning to a zero-carbon economy
  • deliver real and tangible economic, social and/or environmental outcomes for Queensland and Germany through the creation of innovative products, technologies or processes that have a practical application
  • capitalise on the complementary comparative advantages of Queensland and Germany and build a critical mass of internationally recognised science and research.

In Queensland, the program is part of the Queensland Government's AU$150 million Trade and Investment Strategy 2022–2032 (Strategy). In Germany, the program is part of the Bioeconomy International 2023–Call (BI2023) and is managed by Project Management Jülich (PtJ). Copies of the Strategy and BI2023 can be provided upon request.

Queensland-based applicants must be able to demonstrate that they will be undertaking the proposed project with a German research organisation that may have one or more industry partners involved. Further information is provided below under Procedures.

For successful project applications, the Queensland applicant will receive funding from the Queensland Government through DES, and the German applicant will receive funding from the BMBF through PtJ.

The program will have three rounds. It is anticipated that, under the Queensland application process, up to four Queensland applicants per round will be awarded a one-off grant of up to AU$250,000 (excluding GST) for a project period up to three years, each subject to the terms and conditions outlined below.

In addition, each successful German applicant will receive up to €500,000 of funding under the German application process.

Round One of the program seeks to support practical and applied collaborative science and research projects in the following target areas:

  1. Materials: Development or advancement of technologies for the production of value-added products from sustainably sourced biomass, including but not limited to biotechnology, synthetic biology, and precision fermentation.
  2. Sustainable agriculture: Development or advancement of processes for the increased and sustainable production of agricultural products; this may include precision, smart and digital agriculture where there are clearly identifiable bioeconomy outcomes.
  3. Food (Waste): Innovations to support sustainable and resilient food systems focused on reducing or reusing wastes, to enhance and improve circularity.


Overall application process

For the purpose of these guidelines:

  • ‘Participant’ means universities, research-based organisations and institutes, large companies, and small–medium-sized enterprises, based in Queensland or Germany, who will carry out a project with the applicant.
  • Project applications must clearly identify the applicant and any participants.
  • Applicants based in Queensland and Germany must co-ordinate their applications and their roles under a defined project and submit their applications separately to the relevant jurisdiction under their respective funding guidelines.

Following separate review processes, both jurisdictions will together finalise the agreed list of recommended successful applications, and application approval will be sought from:

  • in Queensland (Australia), the Director-General of the Department of Environment and Science
  • in Germany, the Head of the Bioeconomy Division at BMBF.

These guidelines are for the information and assistance of Queensland-based applicants only.

For German applicants, please refer to www.bioeconomy-international.de/2023 and contact PtJ in Germany. The contact details are below in National contacts.

Queensland application process—Queensland applicants only

Applications must be completed and submitted electronically online via the secure SmartyGrants site.

The closing time and date for submitting applications is 20 June 2023, 1pm AEST.

Deadlines for submitting an application are strict. No extensions will be provided.

All documents submitted via the application process will remain strictly confidential. DES will manage any personal information provided in accordance with the requirements of the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).

Eligibility criteria

Queensland applications must be made by a Queensland-based university or research organisation working with other relevant participants.

The proposed project must create and/or enhance research collaboration between the applicant and its participants. In doing so, the project application must meet the eligibility criteria below:

  • focus on one of the three identified target areas listed in the About the program (above)
  • be led by a Queensland-based applicant (with an ABN and registered for GST) working with the relevant lead German applicant
  • have a cash contribution from the Queensland-based applicant of at least AU$150,000 (excluding GST)
  • industry involvement is mandatory, e.g. as a research partner, associated partner, or in an advisory role
  • all participants make a cash and/or in-kind contribution towards the cost of the project.

The application is ineligible if:

  • the project is not a distinct activity/set of activities with specified milestones, and aims and outcomes that are achievable by the relevant milestone dates
  • the applicant (and/or any Queensland participant) is already receiving Queensland Government financial support for their core activities/business on the proposed project, and it cannot be demonstrated that the proposed project is clearly different and/or additional to these core activities/business
  • the activities carried out by the participant(s) are contract research activities, and do not involve genuine collaboration with the applicant.

Using the Queensland Government funding

Funding may be used for the following eligible project costs:

  • salary costs for project staff (including salary-related on-costs)
  • project consumables, and
  • travel directly related to the project activities outlined in the submitted application.

Items ineligible for funding include:

  • organisational overheads
  • capital works and/or physical infrastructure, including any buildings, land transportation, telecommunications, and IT networks
  • travel for professional development or conference attendance
  • costs associated with the ongoing programs of work and/or core business of the applicant or participant(s)
  • costs of quarantine related to travel, and
  • contract research for services that can be performed by the applicant organisation.


Contributions committed by the applicant and participants to satisfy the matching cash requirements can include:

  • cash
  • salaries (including salary-related on-costs) for any staff working on the project for a minimum of 20% of their total work time
  • any other direct and actual project costs (non-salaries).


Applications will be assessed in a competitive, merit-based process by a panel with relevant scientific/research/industry expertise.

The evaluation of the project applications received in Queensland and Germany will be undertaken concurrently in those jurisdictions.

The evaluation is based on the following criteria and weighting in the assessment process:

  1. Project focus, relevance to the program objectives and research target area/s as listed in the About the program above (25% weighting)
  2. Level of novelty and scientific merit of the project (25% weighting) including:
    • relevance of the research approach, quality, and originality of the solution strategy
    • appropriateness of the size and structure of the project, quality and stringency of the time schedule, work and budgetary plans and distribution of work among the partners
    • preliminary research has been undertaken (by the applicant, participant/s or others) that supports the advancement of the project.
  3. Quality of the collaboration and capability of the project team (25% weighting) including:
    • added value of international cooperation (increased knowledge base, training of young scientists, access to R&D infrastructure)
    • excellence and expertise of the applicant and the participants (German and Queensland)
    • demonstration of relevant previous project experience in the same or a similar area of research as the proposed project
    • level/nature of involvement of local industry partners.
  4. Outcomes and impact of the project (25% weighting) including:
    • chances of success and commercial exploitation of the results
    • ability for the project to develop innovative products, technologies or processes that have a practical application within an area of identified priority
    • potential for the project to deliver real and tangible economic, social, and/or environmental benefits for Germany and Queensland.

The assessment process will consider how applications meet Queensland Government priorities (including job creation) as well as the impact of research investment to support a diversity of capability across scientific disciplines, geographic regions and research groups.


DES funding must be expended either wholly in Queensland or, if partly expended in Germany, must directly support the applicant, e.g. to cover costs to access specialised research equipment not available in Queensland.

Only eligible expenditure incurred on or after the project commencement date can be claimed by successful applicants.

Payment of funding will be made based on agreed project milestones. A final milestone payment will be made upon the provision of documentary evidence that all project requirements have been satisfied, including evidence that total project expenditure has been incurred and project contributions made by all relevant parties.

Funding agreements

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a legally binding financial incentive agreement (DOCX, 986.2KB) with DES and sign a financial incentive agreement declaration form (DOCX, 123.7KB) .

Please ensure you have read and accepted the terms and conditions of the financial incentive agreement prior to applying for funding, as they will not be negotiable at the time a funding offer is made.

Promotion of supported projects

Funding recipients will be expected to actively promote their research, to provide information and attend media/promotion events if requested.

The Queensland Government funding and the BMBF funding should be acknowledged by recipients in all relevant published material, media releases and public statements. Further details will form part of the financial incentive agreement.

Privacy statement

DES is collecting the information in this form to evaluate applications for the program as required by the guidelines and terms and conditions.

Applications are to be lodged on the SmartyGrants platform, a third-party cloud-based platform operated by 'Our Community Pty Ltd'. The Our Community Privacy Policy states that they may use third-party service providers that may store information outside Australia. By lodging an application, you agree to any overseas transfer of information made in accordance with the Our Community Privacy Policy.

As DES and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will evaluate grants applications jointly, any personal information included in the application will be disclosed to BMBF for that purpose.

The information provided will also be used and/or disclosed to administer the grant application process.

BMBF will manage any personal information provided in accordance with the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance Guidelines.

The information provided on this form will also be provided to authorised departmental officers and approved grant assessors under the Financial Accountability Act 2000 (Qld) for the purpose of assessing the application for funding. They may provide all or some of the information to the Queensland Government to promote funded projects and may provide details of successful proposals, agreed outcome, progress and level of funding for publication.

Funding recipients will be expected to actively promote their research, and to provide information and attend media/promotion events if requested. The Queensland Government may also use and/or disclose information about the successful applicants to promote their work and potentially identify future research opportunities.

Any personal information that accompanies this application will not otherwise be used or disclosed unless authorised or required by law.

National contacts


Dr. Veronika Jablonowski Project Management Jülich
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Biological Innovation & Economy- EU and International Affairs (PtJ-BIO7)
Phone: +49 2461-61-5083
Email: v.jablonowski@fz-juelich.de

Queensland, Australia

Department of Environment and Science
Phone: +61 7 3170 5864
Email: science.grants@des.qld.gov.au