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Directions/Other as made
These Directions given to the Industry Research and Development Board specifiy matters in relation to technical assessments and merit ranking by the Board of eligible applications under the COMET program, and the policies and practices that the Board will follow in administering the program.
Administered by: Industry, Science and Resources
Exempt from sunsetting by the Legislation (Exemptions and Other Matters) Regulation 2015 s11 item 03
Registered 19 Feb 2007
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR26-Feb-2007
Tabled Senate26-Feb-2007

Commonwealth of Australia

Industry Research and Development Act 1986


COMET Program Directions No 1 of 2006



I, Ian Elgin Macfarlane, Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, acting under subsections 18A(1),19(1) and 20(1) of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986, give the following Directions to the Industry Research and Development Board (‘the Board’). These Directions replace the previous Directions No. 1 of 2004. Policies and guidelines issued under the Directions No.1 of 2004 will remain in force until replaced following the commencement of these Directions and will continue to apply to COMET grant funding that was approved by the Program Delegate under the Directions No. 1 of 2004.



Dated  15/12/06                                   I. Macfarlane


Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources






1.             Name of Directions

These Directions are the Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) Program Directions No 1 of 2006.


2.             Commencement

These Directions will come into effect on and from the day on which both the following steps have been completed:


a)               the Directions have been registered on the Federal Registrar of Legislative Instruments; and

b)               the Directions have been published in the Gazette.


3.             Object of these Directions

The object of this instrument is to give Directions to the Board in relation to:

a)             an additional function of the Board, namely the provision of technical assessment and merit ranking of eligible applications under, the COMET Program; and

b)             the policies and practices to be followed by the Board in the performance of the function.


4.             Interpretation

a)             In these Directions, unless the contrary intention applies:

agreement means an agreement between a recipient and the Commonwealth for grant funding under the program, as amended from time to time in accordance with the rules for the program;


applicant means an entity that makes an eligible application;


Assistance Plan means the tailored package of support for the recipient designed to increase the commercialisation of the recipient’s innovation;


Business Advisers are the private sector consultants to assist in the delivery of the COMET program.  The role of the Business Adviser is to provide guidance with COMET applications, make assessment of applications, advise and assist recipients through the commercialisation process and undertake other activities against any operational plan agreed by the Department;


COMET National Manager oversee the delivery of COMET by the Business Adviser network, assist with the technical assessment of applications under the COMET program and undertake other activities against any operational plan agreed by the Department;


Department means the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources;


eligible application means an application for grant funding under the Program, that includes a National Manager recommendation and that the Program Delegate has determined to be eligible to be admitted for technical assessment and merit ranking by the Board;


eligible activities means the activities eligible for funding as part of an Assistance Plan.  The Assistance Plan is developed in consultation with the Business Adviser and is for activities accessed through third-party service providers.  These comprise:

-         strategic and business planning, including an export strategy if appropriate;

-         market research;

-         management development, including participation in approved management skills development courses;

-         an intellectual property strategy;

-         engagement of non-executive directors or mentors;

-         proving technology;

-          working prototype completion;

-         market validity focussed on building a credible business proposition; and

-         for applicants more than 200 kilometres from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth, up to 5 per cent of their grant amount (capped at $3,200) on travel expenses incurred in relation to the project by themselves or a service provider;


innovation is defined as new or improved, products, processes or services;


Merit Criteria means the criteria specified in clause 9 of these Directions;


Minister means the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources;


Program means the Commercialising Emerging Technology (COMET) Program, a merit-based program that is administered by the Program Delegate and is designed to provide support to enable COMET recipients to maximise their potential for commercialisation of innovation;


Program Delegate means an employee of the Department who has been empowered by the Minister, or otherwise duly authorised, to administer the program [Note: this is distinct from a Delegate of the Board appointed under section 21 of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986];


recipient means an entity that is entitled to receive funding under the program pursuant to an agreement between the entity and the Commonwealth; and


service providers are entities engaged to provide assistance and services in the implementation of the Assistance Plan.  They are identified by the COMET recipient, and their engagement approved by the COMET Business Adviser.


b)             In these Directions, may is permissive and not mandatory.





5.             Board to have regard to certain policy objectives

The Board must have regard to the following policy objectives in giving effect to these Directions:

a)             to increase Australia’s sustainable economic growth through stimulating the successful commercialisation of Australian innovation; and

b)             to build sustainable and high-growth firms by increasing prospects for successful commercialisation of innovation through the attraction of capital and partners.


6.             Procedure

a)             Subject to clause 7, the Board will assess eligible applications and provide a merit ranking of those applications to the Program Delegate;

b)             The Board must consider eligible applications at least every 60 days.


7.             The Board may refuse to provide merit ranking

The Board may decide to refuse to provide a merit ranking in respect of a particular applicant if it is not satisfied with the level of merit of an eligible application in relation to one or more of the Merit Criteria.




8.             Assessment of applications

Subject to clause 7, the Board must assess each eligible application on its merit according to the extent to which the application meets the Merit Criteria.


9.             Merit Criteria

The merit of eligible applications must be assessed against the following criteria:

a)             Actual or potential management capability to commercialise the innovation with appropriate COMET support;

b)             Market opportunity and strategy of the innovation;

c)             Technical feasibility of the innovation; and

d)             Demonstrated need for COMET funding.





10.         Ad hoc technical assessments

The Program Delegate may request the Board to provide a technical assessment on any matter arising out of the Assistance Plan.





11.     The Board may advise the Minister, or the Minister may request advice, on non-financial administration matters relating to the program, including program administration and the extent to which the program is meeting its objectives.


12      The Board may collect and analyse data on the performance of the program, provide advice to the Minister on such performance, and will cooperate with any independent evaluation of the program.