Clusters will be able to apply for up to $100,000 (excluding GST).

As seed funding, it is hoped that this initial NERA support will provide emerging clusters with sufficient time and resources to build momentum to leverage further funding, support and membership.

Whilst not a requirement of the Regional Hydrogen Technology Cluster program, applicants' ability to leverage additional funding will be viewed favourably.
EOIs will address the following questions:
  • What is the compelling case for a hydrogen technology cluster in the specific region?
  • What is the focus of your proposed hydrogen cluster?
  • What is the rationale for NERA funding this proposal and how will program funding be used?
  • How strongly is the application supported by other stakeholders (including financially) and how will you engage other organisations to join the cluster?
  • What are the key barriers (knowledge, capability and capacity) to development of the hydrogen supply chain and technology in the region?
  • How will the cluster enable its members to overcome these barriers?
  • What are the expected outcomes and how will they benefit the region and/or city, and the nation?
EOIs will be assessed based on the following selection criteria:
  • Demonstrated suitability of a hydrogen cluster to the specified region.
  • Applicant capability and capacity to lead the formation and establishment of a hydrogen cluster.
  • Demonstrated support from other interested parties.
  • Applicant ability to leverage other funds.
  • Cluster risks and proposed control measures to mitigate risks.
  • Expected benefits and outcomes.
NERA welcomes project proposals for applied research and development that has known commercial application and a clear timeframe for implementation. NERA project funds are not intended to support discovery of basic research. While the research can originate in other countries the results of the project must be proven in Australia and clearly benefit the Australian energy resources sector. NERA strongly encourages research to be undertaken in Australia where possible. NERA’s understanding is the project participants are still eligible for the R&D tax incentive on their individual cash contributions to the project. However, NERA encourages project participants to check this with their accountant.
Signed contracts or agreements are not required as part of the EOI process. Written commitment to the project should be obtained from all project participants before including their details in the EOI document. Delays in signing the project funding or consortium funding agreements are common if written commitment is not obtained from consortium members as part of the EOI process.
NERA will acknowledge any pre-existing IP. Ownership of IP created as part of any NERA-funded project will need to be negotiated and outlined in the project funding or consortium agreement.
Successful applicants will be required to enter into a cluster seed funding agreement with NERA before proceeding. Funding will be distributed once agreements are in place. NERA cluster funding will be payable by instalments as agreed with NERA and will link to agreed milestones.

The overall amount of NERA funding distributed per successful application will be dependent on the number and quality of applications but will not exceed $100,000.
NERA project funds must be at least matched by project participants cash. Cash contributions are the financial/cash contributions of the industry funding partners. NERA welcomes in-kind contributions towards projects but can only match cash contributions and not in-kind funding (such as existing employees). Project Funds cannot be used to duplicate, but may complement and leverage funding arrangements from other government sources including from State and Territory Governments. Any additional Government cash contributions must also be matched with equal additional industry cash co-contributions. In-kind or cash contributions from Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) and Applied Research Centres (ARCs) are not considered matched funding so NERA will not provide project funds matched by CRCs and ARCs alone.
If not already in place, it is expected that a dedicated cluster manager will be appointed. The main role of the cluster manager is to connect the cluster stakeholders, to facilitate the development of the cluster’s forward agenda and to catalyse collaborative development activities. Cluster funds may be used for activities directly related to the cluster, for example manager salary, office rent, consulting services, business equipment, and consumables for activities in Australia. Cluster seed funding cannot be used to reimburse parties for in-kind contributions.
All applications will be assessed, and successful applicants will be notified by 5 November. NERA will provide feedback to all applicants, including those who are unsuccessful, and will provide guidance on other opportunities.
An EOI can be submitted by a consortium or a single organisation with a project proposal that demonstrates a clear commitment and capability to establish and/or grow a hydrogen technology cluster in a specified region within Australia.

Consortium — Key requirements for a consortium are:
  • Involvement of a minimum of two independent organisations drawn from any combination of producers, small-to-large service and/or equipment providers. Consortium members must operate a business in Australia, or principally in Australia.
  • All consortium members should be committed to the cluster prior to the submission of the EOI.
  • Each consortium lead will be required to sign a funding contract with NERA and separately with their consortium members.
  • All consortium member businesses must hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN).

Single entity — Submissions can be made by single entities on the condition that the entity will be forming the cluster on behalf of a wider group of members and interested stakeholders. The applicant must hold an active ABN.
Yes. NERA may be required to disclose information to the Federal Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources as part of its reporting requirements. Both NERA and the Federal Government have processes in place for commercially sensitive information.

NERA is subject to the National Privacy Principles (‘NPPs’) that are contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (‘Privacy Act’) which governs how NERA handles personal information.