Research Pilot Program

SRN Research Pilot Project funding scheme is an annual, competitive program that supports cross-disciplinary university collaboration in New South Wales and the ACT. The key objective of the SRN Research Pilot Projects is to conduct a rapid feasibility study on new ideas for Space and develop these ideas into concepts or technologies that can attract further investment from the government or industry. Research Pilot Projects should demonstrate high potential to satisfy an existing or emerging Space capability need or an existing or emerging industry need.

It is the intention of the Network to understand industry capabilities and needs in alignment with Australia’s space priorities.  The identification of a set of Research Pilot Projects will focus on capability priorities identified in the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028. These pilot projects will either be in direct response to an existing industry problem or will be framed to target an unmet Space capability. As outlined in the NSW Space Industry Development Strategy, the NSW government has committed $5M to establish a space manufacturing capability in Western Sydney. In line with the commitment of the Federal and NSW Governments to provide funding towards Advanced Manufacturing capability in Space, at least one of the pilot projects will be focused on addressing issues around advanced manufacturing related to the space sector.  Other national space priority areas will underpin the remaining Pilot Projects.  It is expected that these pilot projects will form the basis of future funding submissions to the ASA, the Australian Research Council (ARC), CRC-P and/or other R&D leveraged funding.


Research Pilot Projects should address an identified need. Priority will be given to projects that align with the Australian Civil Space Strategy Capability Priorities and that are seen to position NSW/ACT researchers and industry to be competitive for further funding.

Application process

Application for the SRN Research Pilot Project grant is a one stage process. Proposals should be submitted to by the published due date.


All complete applications will be assessed by the SRN Technical Review Panel on a competitive basis relative to the selection criteria:

  1. Novelty and potential to become world-leading 
  • Degree of research excellence, making reference to novelty, significance, and ambition 
  1. Identified need in space 
  • Demonstrates high potential to satisfy an existing or emerging space capability need or a current or emerging space industry need  
  1. Potential for impact and implementation pathway 
  • Relevance and potential impact for the NSW space sector 
  1. Team track record 
  • Team’s ability to deliver proposed project, including appropriateness of track record, balance of skills within the project team, and feasibility given requested/available resources 


01 Aug 22Applications open
16 Sep 22Applications due
Nov 22Review period
02 Dec 22Results announced
Dec 22 – Jan 23Contracting


Funding Outcomes for Round 1, 2022

Project IDSummaryInvestigator(s)Lead University AnnouncedInstitutional PartnerIndustry PartnerAward
RP220101Multi-modal Satellite-based Vessel Surveillance via Optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging.

To establish space-based surveillance capability by developing a novel multi-modal deep learning system for detecting, recognising, and tracking sea vessels from satellite optical and synthetic aperture radar images.
Prof. Son Lam Phung; Prof. Abdesselam Bouzerdoum; Prof. Willy Susilo; Dr. Fok Hing Chi Tivive; A/Prof. Le Chung Tran; Prof. Christian Ritz; A/Prof. Raad Raad; A/Prof. Sebastian Oberst; Dr. Benjamin HalkonUniversity of Wollongong26/05/2022University of Technology SydneyIndustry Spec Drones$147,282
RP220102Lunar Navigation.

To develop and integrate two positioning instruments for lunar navigation: celestial navigation and high-sensitivity GNSS receiver.
Prof. Andrew Dempster; Dr. Eamonn Glennon; Dr. Xiaofeng Wu; Joshua Critchley-MarrowsUniversity of New South Wales26/05/2022University of SydneySeaskip Systems$149,634
RP220103Microcrack suppression in lightweight and recyclable thermoplastic-fibre composites for cryogenic liquid hydrogen storage tank.

Development of a lightweight and recyclable fibre- reinforced thermoplastic composites technology capable of mitigating matrix microcracking at cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2) temperature.
Prof. Chun H Wang; Dr. Mohammad S Islam; Prof. Liyong TongUniversity of New South Wales26/05/2022University of Sydney$150,000
RP220104Space qualification of Gallium Nitride power amplifiers.

To qualify GaN technology for reliability in space applications. It will lead to sovereign capability in designing GaN communication electronics qualified for usage in space-borne systems.
A/Prof. Sourabh Khandelwal; Prof. Simon Mahon; Dr. Xi (Forest) Zhu; Macquarie University26/05/2022University of Technology SydneyANSTO$149,830
RP220105Laser Heterodyne Radiometer Development Towards Future Spaceflight.

Develop key technology to enable the use of space-based laser heterodyne radiometer for fingerprinting and classifying methane emissions sources.
Dr. Ediz Cetin; Mr. Vu Hoang Thang Chau; A/Prof. Oliver Diessel; Dr. James BevingtonMacquarie University26/05/2022University of New South WalesInterplanetary Exploration Institute$140,646
RP220106Cooling SmallSats - Thermal lattice metamaterial technology.

Develop advanced microlattice thermal metamaterials to tackle the current
challenge in efficiently dissipating heat generated from the GPUs of high-performing computers that are onboard SmallSats.
A/Prof. Zhen (Jeff) Luo; Dr. Nick Bennet; Dr. Lee (Mickey) Clemon; Dr. Xiaofeng Wu; Prof. Iver H. Cairns; Prof. Sarah Zhang; Prof. Richard YangUniversity of Technology Sydney26/05/2022University of Sydney; Western Sydney UniversitySpiral Blue$141,171
RP220107A roadmap for space photovoltaics in Australia.

To establish a roadmap for high performance space photovoltaic technologies and to identify existing and future national infrastructure for R&D, testing and qualification critical for the emerging Australian space-photovoltaic industry.
Prof. Anita Ho-Baillie; Prof. David McKenzie; Prof. Iver Cairns; Prof. Gavin Conibeer; A/Prof. Nicholas Ekins-Daukes; A/Prof. Stephen Bremner; A/Prof. Santosh Shrestha; Dr. Ceri Brenner; Dr. Stefania PeracchiUniversity of Sydney26/05/2022University of New South WalesANSTO$150,000