DEFENCE INNOVATION PROGRAM Do you require assistance?

Leading national industry assistance consulting firm – TCF Services – has assembled a team of defence-industry experts to form a new consulting practice to specifically assist existing defence SMEs, and/or potential new Defence suppliers, to access Defence Innovation Grants and other R&D funding support available under the new $1.6 billion Defence Industry Innovation program.

Over the past 26 years, TCF Services Pty Ltd has delivered over two billion dollars in grants and tax incentives to its clients through a variety of Australian Government industry assistance programs, including structural adjustment schemes relating to the Automotive and advanced Textiles sectors. TCF Services has since expanded its advisory expertise across all industry sectors to deliver benefits under the R&D Tax Incentive and other Commonwealth and State innovation and export assistance initiatives.

The new TCF Services-Defence consulting practice will leverage off the above experience base to provide defence clients with an even broader range of avenues to raise funds to support R&D and innovation activities, spanning the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), through to the new Defence Innovation Program. Cash advances on entitlements due under the R&D Tax Incentive can also be provided, via R&D Capital Partners; a TCF Services joint venture, to help clients accelerate R&D activities to achieve a greater equity valuation.

TCF Services-Defence has developed a proprietary – ‘Application to Grant’ – (or A to G) client engagement model to help ABN-registered small to medium-sized enterprises undertaking R&D and innovation relevant to Defence, to access the $1.6 billion of assistance now on offer. Funding is available from one or other of:

  • Defence Innovation HUB Grants – provides funding for products and service methodologies already at advanced stages of engineering and/or manufacturing development to accelerate their prototyping, testing, demonstration and ultimately, consideration for procurement by the Australian Defence Force;
  • The Next Generation Technologies Fund – provides funding for R&D work aimed at generating real experimental-based new science, materials and methodologies for potential incorporation into military equipment and services prospectively required by Defence in the years after 2025; and
  • Capability Improvement Grants – provides funding for prospective new suppliers to Defence (or existing Defence suppliers) looking to upgrade their business competencies or skills to satisfy military requirements.

THE ‘A TO G’ OF DEFENCE INNOVATION GRANTS  

Guidelines issued by the Department of Defence confirm there are several proposal assessment stages that firms will need to hurdle before they can secure a grant for innovation activities assessed as relevant to priority Defence needs – either in the near-term (out to 2026) or in the longer-term to the 2050s. The ‘Application to Grant’ (or A to G Client Engagement Model) has been developed to make it easier for clients to step through Defence’s evaluation process. The necessary steps are:

A – DISCOVERY: Client documentation supporting R&D and innovation activities is reviewed to assess suitability to participate in the Defence innovation space. A gap analysis then guides the assembly of a portfolio of innovations potentially of interest to the Australian military or otherwise more suited to military export or other civil markets. Clients and their activities are then registered on the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) web portal.

B –PROPOSAL DRAFTING: Discovery stage outputs are used to select innovation activities for more intensive translation into R&D project scripts to populate innovation proposals for lodgement on the web portal. Upon lodgement of the first innovation proposal, a schedule of subsidiary activities will be developed to promote wider awareness of the subject proposal and sponsoring client.

C – RECALIBRATION: Some clients with worthy innovation proposals may nevertheless require assistance to improve their business practices and/or processes to Defence standards prior to their innovation proposal being more fully considered. The initial gap analysis will have ordered such deficiencies into a priority list to guide the TCF Services-Defence team to prepare and lodge Capability Improvement Grant applications to resolve them.

D – FORMAL RFP SUBMISSION: After an innovation proposal has been accepted by the Department of Defence, clients must next assemble additional documentation to satisfy a formal Defence RFP, which is again reviewed in order to determine the size of each grant, as well as the Ts and Cs of the contract. TCF Services-Defence has experience in preparing all the required materials relevant to the RFP, and in resolving Intellectual Property issues.

E – INNOVATION HUB CONTRACT: Successful execution of each contract governing a Defence Innovation HUB project activity requires diligence in technical execution and competent contract management. TCF Services-Defence can generate and manage a schedule for regular project reviews, as well as attend to subsidiary issues arising over the period of project execution. At any one of these review points, work can also commence with the intent to amend the initial innovation HUB contract to accommodate other (new) innovation proposals for submission to Defence.

F – SELF-CLAIMANTS: Companies who consider they possess sufficient internal skills and resources to draft up their own Defence Innovation HUB proposals have the opportunity to ‘market-test’ their new capability innovation ideas by calling on TCF Services-Defence to review (or ‘Red Team’) their proposal, prior to final web portal lodgement.

G – PATHWAY TO NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGIES: A review of client innovation proposals against a unique database available to TCF Services-Defence of the whole of the Defence Integrated Investment Plan, may alternatively establish certain proposals are not sufficiently mature for a HUB grant. In such cases, innovation proposals can be re-worked and submitted to the Next Generation Technologies Fund for assistance.

EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES

The TCF Services-Defence team has access to the wider resources of the TCF Services group, including PhD’s in physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering, along with other highly qualified consultants with IT, science, IP, accounting and legal qualifications. This resource base can be drawn upon to substantiate the distinctive experimental and technical aspects of each client’s innovation proposal, in parallel with supporting investigative work to ensure the highest alignment with Defence future capability priority needs. [Refer to www.tcf.net.au for further information.]

TCF Services-Defence also has access to the D+I+sG+X-M ‘DIIP at Your Fingertips’ database, which has mapped the entirety of the 200 projects/project phases contained in the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Plan. Drawing on this research enables information to be generated on critical inter-dependencies between individually listed Defence future capability requirements that are not otherwise publicly available. Database search outcomes can also be linked to the six Defence Capability Streams that were used in the 2016 Defence White Paper to classify future capability acquisition needs. Such information is critical in ensuring that HUB and NGTF grant proposals prepared by the TCF Services-Defence team for its clients reflect the highest possible alignment with Defence future capability priority needs.

 TCF SERVICES-DEFENCE CONTACT DETAILS:

SYDNEY HEAD OFFICE:                                                                       MELBOURNE OFFICE:

Suite C, Level 2, 55 Mentmore Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018                     Suite 4, Level 11, 470 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone: 02 8219 4900                                                                              Phone: 03 9629 7772

Gerry Frittmann – 0413 647 664 gerry@tcf.net.au                               Gerry Bluett – 0411 202 181 g.bluett@tcf.net.au

Managing Director                                                                                  Director, Defence Industry

Trevor Thomas – 0412 631 399 trevor@tcf.net.au                               Jarrod Smith – 0413 138 474 jarrod@tcf.net.au

Strategic Programs Director, Defence                                                    Senior Consultant, Defence Industry

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