3 mins read 06 Dec 2021

Guidelines for Demonstrator Program Round Two Funding Released

The government has released guidelines for applications for the next round of Demonstrator Program funding as part of the Moon to Mars Initiative. 

Credit: NASA.

The Australian Government has released guidelines for round two of the Moon to Mars Initiative Demonstrator Program grants. The Demonstrator Program first opened at the end of last year, with a pooled total of \$3.7 million in grants to be awarded to fund project feasibility studies and opportunities for products that are designed and developed to be used in space, or support operations in space. Round one of the Demonstrator Program saw 20 projects receive up to \$20,000, including projects from the University of Southern Queensland and Valiant Space

The Moon to Mars Initiative is part of an \$800 million investment by the government into the civil space sector to achieve a goal of tripling the sector’s size to \$12 billion and create an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030. The initiative has three tranches to develop the Australian space sector and to collaborate with and support NASA’s Artemis Mission:the Supply Chain Program, the Demonstrator Program, and the Trailblazer Program. Round two of the Demonstrator program is just one of several rounds of funding that have been completed or are underway as part of the Moon to Mars Initiative. Round two grants will range from \$750,000 to \$10 million.

Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price commented on the round two grants, saying they would help more Australian space businesses develop the experience they need to compete on the international stage.

“These investments will position Australian space companies to be able to play a part in future space missions, including NASA’s efforts to go to the Moon and beyond,” Minister Price said.

“The more Australian technology we can help launch into space, the more the global space community stands up and takes notice of our businesses and researchers.  

“Supporting Australian companies to develop their space experience is essential for them to break into new markets and supply chains – which in turn will draw more investment into our country to grow our economy and create more jobs.

“Excitingly, the jobs that come from our growing space sector spread across a range of industries and skillsets – from resources to agriculture, to manufacturing.

“This is all part of the Morrison Government’s plan to grow a globally respected space sector that benefits all Australians, both now and into the future.”

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said access to Space is one of seven priority areas under the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028.

“We know the world wants to do business with Australian space companies but one of the challenges we face is the relative lack of space heritage that many of their innovative technologies have,” Mr Palermo said.

“We don’t want to see great Australian ideas or technology remain grounded because of a lack of support.”

Applications for round two Demonstrator Program grants are set to open in the first quarter of 2022. To apply for a mission grant in round two, companies do not have to be a recipient from round one, but will require a feasibility study to support their application. Companies will also need to contribute at least 25 percent of the mission’s costs. More information about the grant guidelines can be found here.