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Circular Economy Living Lab

Key details

  • Opens: 22 July 2022
  • Closes: 31 August 2022  - 5.00 pm
  • Amount: Various amounts as per the following categories: 
    • Up to $20,000 
    • $20,001 to $50,000 (with 1:1 matched co-funding, minimum 50% cash) 
    • In-kind support only

Before applying please read through the information on this page which is also available in the Living Labs Grant Guidelines document.

Access Smarty Grants

About Living Lab

A Living Lab is a place-based approach to driving innovation through co-design with partners, community, and Council. It enables businesses, academia, community, and start-ups to collaborate on local challenges and develop solutions that will address them at scale. A Living Lab requires three components: 

  1. Problem: Complex problem that our community faces and is only likely to increase with our growth 
  2. People: A range of people from business, community, not for profits, educations, etc. that could address the problem 
  3. Place: A physical location that can bring innovation to life and create a testbed for our community. 

There are a range of funding pathways for Living Labs, including grants. For the purpose of this theme, a grant pathway is the most appropriate.

What is the objective of a Living Lab?

The objective of a Living Lab is to efficiently trial, evaluate and potentially scale-up innovative ideas that support Council strategies to stimulate the local economy, address environmental challenges, and improve community outcomes through private-public partnerships and innovation processes.  

Responding to complex challenges requires new approaches, and innovative concepts. The Living Lab aims to identify solutions that can meet the needs of the community in new ways and evolve with community feedback and insights.

What is the current Living Lab theme?

The City of Casey is launching a Circular Economy Living Lab to explore the following challenge: How might we leverage emerging technology, data, and innovation to enable a transition to a more Circular Economy in Casey?

As one of the fastest growing and diverse communities in Australia, the City of Casey recognises the need for a circular economy to ensure sustainable growth and provide future opportunities in the local economy, using circular principles to trial and validate innovation in response to complex environmental and social challenges.

About the Circular Economy

The circular economy is a practical framework to address global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, water scarcity, pollution and energy transition. It aims to transform the current linear economic model of ‘take, make, and waste’ into a circular economic model where systems are designed to:

  1. Eliminate waste and pollution in the design and production of new materials and/or products 
  2. Extend materials and/or products lifespan, keeping them in use for as long as possible 
  3. Restore the local environment, with benefits for the flora, fauna, waterways, soil, etc. 

Objectives of the Circular Economy Living Lab Grant

The grant should fund outcomes that successfully deliver and validate innovative solutions, producing measurable economic, social, and environmental benefits, advancing a more Circular Economy in Casey. Solutions should address the challenges presented in the following key areas:

  • Construction and demolition waste - How might we increase resource recovery in construction, that stimulates local businesses and local jobs, whilst contributing to a future ready community and a circular economy in Casey?  
  • Food waste - How might we eliminate organic food waste and enable food security, promoting the development of local businesses and jobs, whilst contributing to a future ready community and a circular economy in Casey?
  • Built environment asset maximisation - How might we extend the cycle length of assets in the municipality (council and non-council owned assets) through technical innovation, maximising and monitoring their use, promoting local business opportunities to transition towards a more circular economy in Casey?

Benefits are expected for the broad community, but projects may address a specific target group or area in the City of Casey. The types of organisations we are looking to partner with include established businesses, start-ups, not-for-profits, social enterprises, co-operatives, research institutions, universities, schools, and community groups. 

See challenge brief for more information. 


Please read through the below sections to ensure the eligibility of your project

Who can apply

To apply for this grant, you must:

  • be a legal entity (e.g. an incorporated association, a co-operative, company or trust) 
  • provide co-contribution funds with at least 1:1 matched funding (minimum 50% cash plus in-kind contributions) - required for grants between $20,001 to $50,000
  • have a level of public liability insurance up to $10 million  
  • have a level of professional indemnity up to $5 million (where the organisation provides professional advice) 
  • have WorkCover insurance (where your organisation or business employs people) 
  • obtain a Working With Children Check if required 
  • submit a detailed project plan with milestones, community benefits, trial methods, desired impact, and an itemised budget detailing how you will spend the funds 
  • submit your application and documentation online through our SmartyGrants system  
  • attend the Community Pitch Night on Monday 19 September from 6.00pm – 7.30pm, if shortlisted 

Who cannot apply

You cannot apply for this grant if you are:  

  • an individual not submitting as part of a business or partnership
  • a political party and/or group  
  • a state or federal government agency, department, or public entity 
  • representing another Council 
  • a catchment management authority 
  • a non-registered business 
  • under an auspice arrangement

What will be funded

The applications must adhere to the following:

  • Projects must be able to start within 1 month after the grant agreement sign-off 
  • Trial outcomes must be achieved within 6 months and there can be no extensions 
  • Projects must have tangible and measurable outcomes

What will not be funded

We cannot accept applications for the following:

  • Projects that cannot commence within one month from the formal approval by the City of Casey and contracts sign-off 
  • Projects (research and test of products and/or services) that cannot be completed in a timeframe of 6 months, at agreed upon start date in 2022 
  • Feasibility study or research 
  • Multiple applications for different projects 
  • Projects already funded by Council 
  • Projects that take place outside of the City of Casey 
  • Ongoing operational costs such as utilities (electricity, gas and water), staff wages/salaries not directly related to the trial, rent or insurance 
  • Grants programs, prizes, awards, or donations.  
  • Funding towards reimbursing retrospective projects or existing work unrelated to the application

Assessment Criteria

We are looking for projects that are:

  • Innovative: solutions should deliver circular outcomes through the testing and scaling of cutting-edge products and services.  
  • Collaborative: partnerships for the trial are recommended and the solution should enable cross-collaboration to achieve maximum benefits and reach a broader target.
  • Data-led: accessible and transparent data insights should be integrated into the proposed solution to ensure measurable outcomes and tangible benefits.  
  • Local providers: to maximise benefits for the local economy, local providers will be favoured, although any Australian Commercial business and social enterprise is eligible to submit a proposal.  
  • Technology powered: when a particular technology product is central to the delivery of a proposed solution, the provider needs to ensure reliability and share prior testing results

Detailed criteria

Community Desirability 30% 

  • Applicants can operate within City of Casey 
  • Demonstration of clear community need and outcomes for Casey community 
  • Strong alignment to Casey’s Council Plan and Strategies 
  • Evidence that the solution will produce the expected result 
  • Clear articulation of how solution will solve a problem including project outcomes and benefits 
  • Articulation of project success metrics

Project Viability 25%

  • Sound, detailed and realistic budget within the bounds of grant funding available 
  • Expenditure items listed are necessary and meet eligibility 
  • Organisation contribution detailed and meets requirement of 1:1 co-funding requirement (minimum 50% cash) – required for grants between $20,001 to $50,000 

Project Feasibility 25%

  • Feasible and comprehensive project plan 
  • Ability to manage data, technology, and privacy in a secure way (if applicable)
  • Risks identified and mitigation plan 
  • Communications plan summary provided 
  • Plan provided on how outputs of the project will be communicated 
  • Evidence of experience and capacity to deliver trials

Partnerships and Innovation Potential 20%

  • Demonstration of multi-partner collaboration  
  • Demonstration of an innovative solution that meets Council and community needs 
  • Utilisation of innovative approaches to data and insights 
  • Extra weighting will be offered to local businesses who operate in Casey

Assessment Process

Funding applications are checked for eligibility by Council officers.  

  1. Eligible applications are then assessed by the internal Living Lab working group that makes recommendations to the internal Living Lab Steering Committee for endorsement.
    Note: The full amount requested may not be approved; the assessment panel may recommend partial funding.  Consideration will also be given to the total funding available and the distribution of funding across the priority areas. 
  2. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to present at a community pitch night, to share their idea, get feedback and build community connections.  
  3. Feedback from the night will be presented to the internal Steering Committee alongside final recommendations of successful recipients.  
  4. Successful and unsuccessful recipients will be notified of the outcome of their application at the end of the process

How to apply

The online application process opens on 22 July 2022 on the Smarty Grants platform.

Applications must include additional information as specified. Supporting documents and attachments must be in electronic format and submitted as part of the online application process.

The application must be submitted by the due date. No paper applications will be accepted or applications outside of Smarty Grants will be considered. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.  

Access Smarty Grants

Friday 22 July 2022  Applications open on Smarty Grants
Tuesday 8 August  Information session and networking event. 
Thursday 11 August 

Application support session

Wednesday 31 August  Applications close. There is no access to the online applications after 5.00 pm.  An automated acknowledgement email is sent to the applicant as soon as the application is submitted. 
Early September Applications are processed to determine eligibility. Applications are assessed against the assessment criteria by Casey officers and shortlist confirmed. 
Friday 9 September  Shortlisted applicants notified
Monday 19 September 

Community pitch night
(held for shortlisted applicants)

Late September Successful applicants notified
October  Funding and Service Agreements signed, and funding is distributed

If your application is successful

  • We will notify you by email or phone to organise a project kick-off meeting.  
  • You will need to read Council’s Grants Policy.
  • If you have any outstanding payments to Council, you will need to clear these before we can pay the grant.  
  • Please note that some events and installations may require Council permits and approval. In this case approval must be obtained before grant funds can be paid.  

Useful information 

The following links contain information that may be useful in preparing a Living Lab funding application: 

What are the conditions of the funding?

All successful applicants must adhere to the conditions as outlined in the City of Casey’s Grants Policy (October 2017). The following conditions also apply:

  • Successful applicants will be required to enter into a funding and service agreement with the City of Casey, which lists funding conditions.  This must be signed, and appropriate documentation provided before funds are issued. 

  • Successful applicants will be required to provide a statement of expenditure or an audited statement at completion funding period. If Council’s grant funds are not spent, all remaining funds must be returned to Council. 

  • Please note that a Living Lab Funding application will not necessarily result in funding or may result in only a portion of the amount requested being allocated. 

  • Groups will need to satisfy acquittal requirements for previous Council grants and funding before funds will be released. 

  • Depending on outcomes and benefits for Casey, some successful applicants may be invited to scale up their project with additional funding provided at the discretion of Council. 

  • Council may also choose to take the learnings from the trial to inform future market activities at discretion of Council. 

Reporting and Acquittal

After you have completed your project, you must tell us how you spent the grant money and what the outcomes of the project were. This is known as an acquittal process. You must complete the acquittal process online within 60 days of completing the project.  The reporting format and agreed outputs will be provided upon successful appointment of the grant.  

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