Call for proposals

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is seeking to partner with Queensland-based university/institute researchers on Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects in a range of priority areas.

The initiative leverages off the Australian Government’s ARC Linkage Projects scheme, which promotes collaboration between universities, industry, and government.

DES is interested in partnering on ARC Linkage Projects that support collaboration between the department and higher education organisations, DES, industry and other research end-users, to advance knowledge and deliver science and technology benefits to Queensland.

R&D Linkage Opportunities is intended to be a pilot partnering scheme, rather than a program purely supporting university/institute researcher generated proposals. To achieve this, DES will provide long-term engagement and support to the successful applicants and partners, including allocation of FTE resources and/or other in-kind support suited to the proposal (e.g. providing agreed data on an ongoing basis).

DES will be an active partner in the proposed research program.

Proposals must:

  • support leading-edge research and incentivise collaborative projects that address DES priority research themes (PDF, 245.7KB)
  • improve the capabilities of Queensland’s science base in technologies and disciplines relevant to DES priority research themes
  • provide a pathway for the engagement and uplift of private sector/non-government organisation (NGO) research and technology capabilities in Queensland, relevant to the DES priority research themes
  • leverage the ARC Linkage Projects scheme to maximise DES investment in research to support DES priority programs
  • build DES’s capability as a collaborative partner and consumer of applied research, with DES staff embedded in joint research teams/or activities.

DES supports research that helps deliver effective and efficient policies, programs and regulations across Queensland’s environment, national parks, science, youth and heritage areas.

The DES priority research themes (PDF, 245.7KB) were developed to encourage external researchers to investigate critical areas of relevance to the department, inform research approval processes and prioritise participation in research projects. Proposals must demonstrate how they align with the priority research themes. Research questions of interest under these themes are available.

DES priority research themes

  • Decarbonising the Queensland economy
  • Building climate resilience
  • Advancing the circular economy
  • Developing robust and effective natural capital markets
  • Managing Queensland’s biodiversity and threatened species
  • First Nations data sovereignty and cultural heritage
  • Best practice mine rehabilitation
  • New approaches and technologies for environmental monitoring, detection and analytics
  • Built heritage
  • What works? – translating and commercialising research.

Available funding

A total of up to $900,000 (excluding GST) of funding is available for this program over two years commencing 2024–2025 to support ARC Linkage projects that address DES priority research themes (PDF, 245.7KB) .

Applicants may seek funding up to a maximum of $375,000 over two years per project.


  • Applications are open only to Queensland-based universities considered eligible for ARC Linkage proposals, as set out in ARC’s Linkage Projects Grant Guidelines (2023 edition).
  • Applications must comply with ARC’s Linkage Projects Grant Guidelines (2023 edition), including partner funding contributions. Applications that do not comply with these guidelines will be deemed ineligible.
  • The applicant must be the same as the lead applicant for the ARC Linkage Project application.
  • The applicant organisation must be registered for GST and have an Australian Business Number.
  • Funding is not available to individuals.
  • Funding is only available for project activity undertaken in Queensland.

Engaging with DES to be a linkage partner for your application

Applicants who are considering approaching the department to be a linkage partner are urged to engage with the relevant DES business unit as early as possible to allow time for assessment and approval processes.

DES provides a facilitation service to help potential applicants identify and engage with the relevant business unit/contact person within the department.


Use of DES cash contributions

The proposed use of any approved cash contribution from DES must be in line with ARC’s Linkage Projects Grant Guidelines (2023 edition).

Cash funding from DES will take the form of milestone-based cash contributions as detailed in a funding agreement between the applicant organisation and the department on behalf of the State of Queensland.

DES awarded funding must be expended in Queensland, for project activity undertaken in Queensland.

Application process

Program has closed, applications are currently being assessed.

This deadline is for proposals targeting the ARC 2023 Linkage Projects Assessment Round 2 closing 13 December 2023.

No extensions will be allowed.

Application assessment

Applications are assessed on a competitive, merit basis by a DES assessment panel. The panel will make recommendations to the DES Director-General, who is the decision maker for all funding recommendation approvals.

Applications are assessed using the following criteria:

  • alignment with the DES priority research themes (PDF, 245.7KB)
  • active support from a DES business area, with a clear path to applying the project outcomes
  • quality of project methodology and personnel or indicative capability
  • active engagement and support from Queensland-based businesses and/or organisations
  • a clear pathway to impact
  • the nature and extent of support (in-kind and cash) from other sources. Applicants should note the total program budget when considering the level of funding sought.

Applicant organisations may be contacted during the assessment process to clarify information provided in the application and/or to request additional information to enable the appropriate consideration of the application.

Applicants that are unsuccessful in obtaining approval under the specified ARC Linkage Projects Assessment Round 2 closing 13 December 2023 will become ineligible for funding under the DES R&D Linkage Opportunities program.

Application outcome

Outcomes of the application process is expected to be announced by 1 November 2023, subject to relevant approvals.

All applicant organisations will be informed of the outcome of the decision on their proposals, whether or not they are successful. Applicants can only appeal decisions relating to the eligibility of their application.

Funding agreement

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a legally binding funding agreement with the State, which sets out the terms upon which assistance will be provided including a schedule of agreed performance criteria and reporting requirements.

No funding agreement will be entered into until approved applicants provide evidence of a Commonwealth funding approval for the specified Linkage Project Grant.

Funding agreements must be signed by the legal entity that submitted the application.

Reporting requirements

The applicant organisation must provide a financial acquittal statement to DES annually containing, as a minimum, detail of:

  • Queensland Government funding received and expended
  • their cash contributions to the project
  • the personnel involved in the project
  • the cash and in-kind contributions of all partners towards the project.

Reporting in accordance with the funding agreement will inform the release of payments each financial year from DES to the successful applicant.

DES must be advised in writing within 30 days of any changes that are likely to impact on the project, including changes that may impact on eligibility, research milestones, project funding or reporting.

The applicant organisation must acknowledge Queensland Government funding in all relevant published material, communication material, media releases and public statements.


The Queensland Government collects and collates information from the application form for the purpose of assessment as well as program monitoring and evaluation. Only authorised departmental officers and approved assessors and evaluators of proposals will have access to this information under the Financial Accountability Act 2009.

Applicants should note that broad details of successful proposals, agreed outcomes, progress and the level of funding awarded may be published by the Queensland Government.

Some information may be used to promote funded projects.

The applicant organisation’s information will not be disclosed to any other third party without their consent, unless required by law or for the purposes of the Information Privacy Act 2009.

For audit purposes, the Queensland Government is required to retain the proposals and other supplied support material. Applicants wishing to access this information should contact the department in the first instance.

The provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 apply to documents in the possession of the Queensland Government.

If you wish to obtain access to your personal information held by DES, please contact the department at