The Australian Moon to Mars Initiative and its associated Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants are important elements of the Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028, providing support to Australian businesses to join NASA’s goal of going forward to the Moon and on to Mars.
A goal of the Australian Civil Space Strategy is to triple (to $12 billion) the Space sector’s contribution to Australia’s GDP and create an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030. One element of this is the Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants, which will support Australian businesses that have demonstrable domestic and/or international space industry supply chain opportunities, by providing grant funds for building their capacity, skills, and capabilities.
Grants from $250,000 up to $1 million are available, funding up to 75 percent of eligible project expenditures. A total of $3 million in grants will be allocated in 2021-22 and then $7 million for each year till 2024-25. The maximum project period for this grant is 2.5 years and applications will be accepted until 1st May 2023.
Besides satisfying standard eligibility criteria for Australian government grants (e.g. having an ABN and being registered for GST), Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grant applicants must provide:
- clear evidence that demonstrates a domestic and/or international space supply chain opportunity (e.g., letter of intent or contract from a customer)
- evidence from your board (or CEO or equivalent if there is no board) that the project is supported, and that you can complete the project and cover project costs not covered by grant funding
- an accountant declaration that confirms you are a trading corporation and can fund your share of the project costs, including any ineligible expenditure.
Applications for the Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants are competitive. Besides satisfying the eligibility criteria, to boost your chance of success, please keep in mind the weighting of the following criteria to be used for ranking importance of applications:
- How your project will grow your skills, capability and capacity to participate in domestic and/or international space industry supply chains (40 points)
- Your capacity, capability, and resources to deliver the project (30 points)
- The impact of grant funding (30 points).
Applications for Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants are submitted online and are assessed at least 3 times a year, but you can submit your application at any time until 1st May 2023.
Other funding opportunities for the Space sector
The Space sector was one of the of the six National Manufacturing Priorities identified in the previous Federal Coalition Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy, and the centrepiece of this was the $1.3 billion allocated to the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), with grants starting at $1 million matched funding (i.e. a minimum project size of $2 million).
Despite the current Federal Government discontinuing the MMI, its $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) is heavily focused on increasing manufacturing in Australia, and the $1 billion already allocated toward “Advanced manufacturing” as part of the NRF could potentially go toward assisting the development of hardware for the Space sector.
The flagship Federal Australian Government program to incentivise experimental research and development activities – the R&D Tax Incentive – would also likely cover the sorts of projects that would be funded under the Moon to Mars Initiative. Keep in mind the ‘clawback’ and ‘expenditure not at risk’ provisions, which would reduce most of the R&D Tax premium or deny the expenditure spent on grant related activities from being also claimed for R&D purposes. In most cases you would still be able to claim the portion of the project costs included as matched funding.
Whether it’s Space, Manufacturing, or another of the numerous sectors set to benefit from government prioritisations, you know you need the best advice to keep moving onward and upward. Fullstack has the knowledge and expertise to keep you on the right path by ensuring you receive the right advice and all the grants, incentives, and rebates you’re entitled to.