Call for Proposals: 2023 Seed Funding Program

Are you are a UNSW researcher with a passion for clean energy innovation? Do you want your work to have an impact on society? We want to hear from you! Deadline: Sunday 23rd April, 11.59pm



Enabling the electrification of society for a smart, sustainable future through research, innovation and education.

OUR IMPACT THEMES (click here for more detail)

  • Creating innovators and innovations
  • Connecting university and industry
  • Preparing the workforce
  • Supporting the community
  • Connecting industry and government
  • Providing ongoing thought leadership


Our focus this year continues along the same lines as 2022 with support focussed on researchers, HDR students, and early-career academics with projects that are translational (example is the development of PhD research outcomes into commercialisation pathway).

There is also a need to find areas of UNSW research relevant to DGFI’s mission that have spare capacity to develop research and/or translational activities in conjunction with ‘traditional’ energy research.

Projects need to deliver impact and a clearly defined pathway should be articulated in the response: characteristics of a ‘Good proposal’ might include a focus on translation of research, IP generation, disclosure and filing, creation of tools to educate the general public, help inform career pathways within the energy transition and ongoing decarbonisation of the energy system and economy.


In 2022, DGFI’s highly competitive $700k Seed Funding round spanned 29 awards ranging from $4,000-50,000 across a range of recipients including HDR students, early and mid-career researchers, with 11 schools/centres represented. We considered the 2022 scheme incredibly successful given its strong translation and impact focus. Some highlights and outcomes include:

  • Policy submission on the future National Electricity Market Design
  • Installation of PV systems in Vanuatu
  • Renewables investment and optimisation analyses
  • 6 open-source tools or modelling packages (that have been used to support successful multi-million-dollar proposals)
  • Short course market opportunity analyses (now being developed into actual course offerings)
  • Modelling impacts of electric transport loads on the grid
  • Community energy and sustainability educational tools


2023 is DGFI’s fifth year of operation, and the energy transition has grown more urgent in the context of today’s climate extremes and geopolitical landscape.

We are especially interested to hear from researchers and PhD students from all Faculties and Schools including those not typically connected with the Energy Transition, for example:

  • Interested in AI, bots or automation?
  • Do you have a knack for marketing or market research?
  • Does your creativity or design thinking need an outlet?
  • Are you a cybersecurity guru?
  • Is equity in society your calling?


Category A: Total of $190,000:

  • PhD (other student categories will be considered on a case-by-case basis) support package for PhD students in year 2 or above, competitively awarded, to access funds to support their PhD work that contributes to the DGFI impact themes. Conditions: project must be multi-disciplinary or be supervised by an ECA as primary (Joint) supervisor – up to $10k per application
  • PhD students grant that can be used develop knowledge and/or experience that can be shared with the wider community through outreach programs– up to $5k per application
  • ECA package Impact beyond IP for example, policy submissions, open-source tools to be freely available to stakeholders or development of IP in systems that address electrical network integration issues – up to $25k per application

Category B: Total of $80,000:

  • Development of short course content related to skills required for the electrification/digitisation of the energy grid – up to $15k per application
  • Build a physical demonstration or exhibition designed to educate the general public about one or more of the complex elements of the energy transition – up to $10k per application
  • Development of Programs or content to support/educate the undergraduate community across all UNSW Faculties about how their studies can be applied to the energy transition– up to $5k per application

Category C: Total of $30,000:

This funding is reserved for researchers and students not within Faculty of Engineering and those new to DGFI. Applications are welcome for any of the above categories.


This call is designed to be inclusive and should demonstrate a route to impact in one or more of the DGFI impact themes. Any academic or researcher can apply (other student categories will be considered on a case-by-case basis).

Complete this online form by Sunday 23rd April, 11.59pm.