Illara Innovation Quest
Rise to the Challenge: Let's build solutions to reduce the impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely reshaped the way we live our lives. 

Powered by the University of Wollongong and the NSW Government, the Illawarra Innovation Quest is a call for solutions to address the health and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19.  

Eligible applicants can share in a $500,000 funding pool and gain visibility in the market by joining the quest. Interested NSW businesses can find the eligibility criteria below. The NSW Government State Finals funding pool consists of:


Highest-ranked  $ 250,000

Second-ranked $ 100,000

Third-ranked $ 30,000

Additionally, $10,000 awaits the highest-ranked UOW supported application that is not a state-wide overall recipient.

This is your opportunity to make a difference, share your innovations, receive coaching, and gain funding to create a solution that will ultimately help you and the greater NSW community in navigating the post-COVID world.

Got a game-changing solution?  Rise to the challenge here.

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Challenge 1 application now closed -  challenge 2 and 3 to be announced. Subscribe to the newsletter for updates.

Health and wellbeing solutions that reduce the impact of COVID-19

This is your opportunity to share in over $500,000 in grants and gain support to bring your innovations and ideas into the market, fast!


One local winner within each of the 12 innovation districts will also be granted $10,000 for their innovation.

  1. Show how your solution can make a difference in health and wellbeing

  2. Convince us that you have the capability to deliver

  3. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to promote their pitch

  4. The top 3 will be coached into the state finals

With the new health and wellbeing challenges triggered by COVID-19, we need to come together and solve them through rapid innovation and collaboration between companies, universities and grants.


Free to enter, with the opportunity to earn major funding from the NSW Government for the Top 3 highest ranking innovations at the state finals.


Highest-ranked: $ 250,000

Second-ranked: $ 100,000

Third-ranked: $ 30,000


Additionally, $10,000 awaits the highest-ranked UOW supported application that is not a state-wide overall recipient.

  1. Challenge applications close at 5pm on October 26, 2020.

  2. Shortlisted applicants will promote their pitch to an expert panel on 11am-12:30pm on October 28, 2020.

  3. Final applications and presentation of coached pitch to the NSW Treasury are due on November 11, 2020.

The University of Wollongong is supporting local applicants with big innovations to represent the Illawarra innovation district in NSW state.


Interested NSW businesses looking to participate in the challenge must meet the following Business Eligibility Criteria.

The following will not be considered eligible for funding: 

  • Solutions that do not directly respond to the challenge statement for health and wellbeing solutions that address the impact of COVID-19 

  • Solutions designed to improve internal business processes

  • A Commonwealth, state, or local government agency or body including government business enterprises.

Finalists will need to provide evidence of:

  • An ABN registered in NSW and is based in NSW 

  • Fewer than 200 employees 

  • Operated for at least 12 months, based on the date of ABN registration 

  • At least $75,000 in sales revenue within the last 12 months 

  • A product or service that directly addresses the impact of COVID-19 that it intends to market within 12 months

  • Ownership that is at least 75 percent Australian and is not more than 50 percent owned by another business.

  • An operating profit and loss statement for the last 12 months 

  • Brief profiles of key personnel such as CV or LinkedIn accounts 

  • Nomination of their primary innovation district partner.

Health and Wellbeing Innovation Opportunities
Here are the most pressing health and wellbeing challenges brought by COVID-19 to the world. Your solution could address these or other COVID-19  health and wellbeing challenges.
As vaccines with the potential to end the pandemic remain in development, consistent sanitation and state of the art equipment continue to be the first line of defense against COVID-19. How can we strengthen these elements to aid the overwhelmed healthcare industry in their service delivery and stop the spread altogether?
COVID-19 has prompted many of us to try and fit our entire lives within our homes and personal spaces. With limited space and equipment, how do we encourage a physically active and ergonomically sound lifestyle at home?
For everyone’s safety, social distancing measures have been put in place, restricting travel and social interactions. Many are still trying to find their footing as they struggle with isolation and limited access to essential resources and services.  In what ways can we attend to mental health and improve service delivery when interacting from a distance?
The pandemic has definitely challenged the regular order of our lives, resulting in interrupted routines and cancelled plans. Decision making has become more difficult, as people feel stressed due to uncertainty and the lack of control over their situation. What can we do to help them cope?
UOW services for industry
Pitch coaching
Help with grant applications
Access to incubator
Outsourced R&D

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Challenge 1 application now closed -  challenge 2 and 3 to be announced. Subscribe to the newsletter for updates.

Main Applicant Details

Your Pitch Summary
Add up to 300 words limit per box

The Illawarra Innovation Quest finalists will receive professional pitch coaching and application guidance. Finalists’ video pitches and written submissions will be redeveloped before the NSW State Final Application (Stage 2). The NSW Government application requires further and more detailed information. A highlight video will be developed from the video pitches. If you are having trouble uploading your video email a link to your video to    Please complete the talent release form if you want to be part of this opportunity. Your personal information will be treated according to UOW’s Privacy Policy.

See Who section below.
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 The Illawarra Innovation Quest is part of the NSW Government’s Innovation District COVID-19 R&D Challenge Program