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National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge

Opportunity for

  • Solution providers, innovators, creative thinkers, people with technical experience and know how that are interested in developing low-cost and accurate soil carbon measurement technologies
  • Research service providers with experience in soil science and soil carbon measurement capabilities
  • Established, as well as early-stage ideas are welcome

Opportunity description

Industry challenge: The Australian Government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement 2020 set an economic stretch goal to reduce the cost of soil carbon measurement to under $3 per hectare per year. Industry has indicated that achieving this goal would transform the economics of participating in soil carbon projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) for farmers, by addressing measurement costs.

The $50 million National Soil Innovation Challenge program seeks to encourage industry and researchers to develop lower-cost, accurate technological solutions for soil carbon measurement and meet the economic stretch goal from the Low Emissions Technology Statement.

In the longer-term, the Australian Government anticipates that through improving low cost and accurate soil carbon measurement, there will be an increase in soil carbon sequestration in Australian soils and increased participation in the ERF. Land managers can be rewarded under the ERF for increasing soil organic carbon stocks by making changes to how they manage their cropping, grazing and horticultural systems. Improving soil carbon content will improve farm productivity and crop yields through better nutrient and water retention, and boost resilience to drought and erosion.

Current opportunity: The National Soil Innovation Challenge has multiple competitive grant rounds, to support the development of soil carbon estimation technologies, from feasibility studies, through to proof of concept testing, and validation and deployment through on-farm trials. It will run until June 2024. The Challenge aims to:

  • Fast-track the development of lower-cost, accurate technical approaches to enable land managers to quantify the impact of their land management activities on soil organic carbon
  • Secure co-investment and foster partnerships that trial and deploy novel soil carbon measurement technological solutions.

Stage One: Feasibility Study Grant Guidelines are available and applications can be submitted from 10 November, to access up to $100,000 for a three-month Feasibility Study. Participating in Stage One is not mandatory.

Stage Two: Development and Demonstration Grants, will be open in the coming months, with $49 million in grants to support proof of concept activities and validation and deployment of proposed technologies. The opportunity will remain open, with applications assessed in tranches by the Assessment Committee.

Participants who successfully complete Stage One can apply for Stage Two. If applicants have advanced technologies and can demonstrate feasibility, they can elect to apply directly for Stage Two.

Application process: Click ‘Visit website’ to view the Grants eligibility criteria, application process and forms. For questions regarding the Challenge Grants click ‘Enquire now’.

Related programs

This program builds on other related Australian Government soils programs

The Australian Government committed $7.9 million to the National Soil Carbon Data Program in the 2020-21 Budget. Delivered by Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, this program aims to partner with scientists, industry and other stakeholders to improve data and build confidence in low cost alternatives for measuring and estimating soil carbon. Data collected through this program could be made available for applicants to assist in testing their soil carbon measurement technologies.

The Australian Government released the National Soil Strategy during the 2021-22 Budget. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is delivering $196.9 million in new funding to implement the National Soil Strategy and associated measures as part of an Australian Government Action Plan. Close collaboration will ensure the development of complementary work programs on improving soil monitoring and measurement methods.

Opportunity type

Seeking interest, Innovation challenge, Seeking solutions

Express interest by

Friday 10th December
Visit website

Readiness

Early (TRL 1-4)
Describes the challenge or opportunity being pursued and undertakes preliminary R&D to determine if the concept is feasible.
What does this mean?
Describes the stage of the challenge or opportunity being pursued.

Project led by

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Aquaculture Beef cattle Beverage Cereal grains Cotton Dairy Eggs Essential oils Forestry Fruits Game Honey bees Nuts Oilseeds Other rural industries Packaged food Pasture, fodder & feed Poultry Pulse grains Sugar Vegetables Wild catch fisheries Wine Wool

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources is committed to driving economic growth and job creation for all Australians.

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Aquaculture Beef cattle Beverage Cereal grains Cotton Dairy Eggs Essential oils Forestry Fruits Game Honey bees Nuts Oilseeds Other rural industries Packaged food Pasture, fodder & feed Poultry Pulse grains Sugar Vegetables Wild catch fisheries Wine Wool
  • Location

    Australia

  • Organisation type

    Government agency

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