Calling all Australian researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and innovative businesses!

Come up with the next new idea to help future proof Australian biosecurity and you could receive up to


in funding through the Biosecurity Innovation Program and a 12-week incubation program to make it happen!

What do you need to do?

Participants attended a 3-hour workshop on May 26 with the challenge sponsors. They were introduced to the issues that Biosecurity Innovation are seeking innovative ideas for, and had an opportunity to ask questions and get familiar with the expression of interest process. You can view the workshop below.

Who is involved?

Canberra Innovation Network has partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment’s (DAWE) Biosecurity Innovation Program Team to support delivery of the 2020 Biosecurity Industry Innovation Challenge . 

Up to four successful proposals will be selected by DAWE to further develop their idea or solution and receive $50,000 in funding through the Biosecurity Innovation Program.  Successful proposals will also receive 12 weeks assistance through the Canberra Innovation Network’s Virtual Incubation Program to help the teams develop and proof their concepts and apply for further funds.

The Challenge Tracks


Problem Statement

Risk-based implementation of new biosecurity enforcement measures by DAWE is critical to managing the risk of pests and diseases entering Australian territory while facilitating trade. DAWE conducts thousands of audits around Australia every year. Is there a better way to do audits? How can DAWE get better assurance that regulated entities are appropriately managing risk, without physically going on site?

Treatment Verification

Problem Statement

Goods that are imported into Australia are often required to be fumigated as a condition of import. DAWE is concerned about fraudulent behaviour and the accuracy of the information that is provided. DAWE is seeking an innovative way to verify the integrity and transfer of treatment data to ensure treatment of goods has occurred as certified.

Exotic Invasive Ants

Problem Statement

Early detection of exotic invasive ants (EIA) is crucial to their management or eradication.  DAWE undertakes or oversees surveillance for EIAs around the country at all First Ports of Entry, Approved Arrangements and other high risk sites. The most common methods currently in use for capturing and collecting ants for surveillance have limitations including short attractant life, the potential for dominant ant behaviour and hard surface suitability.   DAWE is seeking a trapping solution that will overcome the limitations and can be deployed in all surveillance environments.

Container Traceability

Problem Statement

Sea cargo containers are packed with various goods and packaging materials that have the potential to harbour biosecurity risks such as Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and Khapra Beetle. Whilst DAWE has access to a travel and cargo history, it is not centralised and does not focus on biosecurity risk. DAWE are seeking innovative ways to trace a containers travel and cargo history to better understand the biosecurity risk the container may present, which can then lead to a more targeted approach to inspections and subsequent treatments on arrival.

What is the incubation program?

In addition to the cash support, you’ll get a 12 week program of regular coaching and mentoring  through Canberra Innovation Network. Some of Australia’s best experts and mentors will help you to proof your concept, validate it’s feasibility and pitch for further funding to implement the solution.

You will be introduced to a variety of innovation tools and be challenged to progress the development your innovative solution, fast! During the program, you’ll learn how to pitch and communicate to key stakeholders, and be coached to identify and pursue other sources of funding for your project.

You will also be invited into a coworking community at the Canberra Innovation Network, with the option of hotdesking and utilising the space throughout the program (Conditional to future operations of the space post-COVID).

What's the process?

  1. View the virtual workshop presentations on May 26. View it below.
  2. Ideate and build your concept.
  3. Submit your project proposal, with a budget of up to $50,000 for consideration by 11:59pm 8 June 2020.
  4. If contacted, answer any questions DAWE might have.
  5. Up to four proposals will be selected to undertake their concept, with teams to be notified of the outcome on June 10.
  6. Successful teams will enter into a contract with DAWE to conduct their proof of concept and be onboarded into the virtual incubation program, including mentor matching.
  7. Incubation program to begin: 12x weekly sessions with experts and mentors as you progress on your research or prototype.
  8. By September 24 you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your solution to a Biosecurity Innovation panel for further consideration.

Any questions?

Please ask any questions you have about the challenge or the process. We will respond to questions within 2 working days.