Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation
School of Chemical Engineering

Pitches Program

The Dow Centre is committed to fostering new ideas and innovation related to sustainability from all subject areas of the University by providing funding which is relatively easy to apply for, has no commercial strings attached, and is open to anyone in the University community with an idea. All you need to do is demonstrate how your project is novel, and, how it might have significant impact in the area of sustainable production and use of energy, water, food, and chemicals. We encourage submissions from any discipline that might contribute to sustainability. In general the Centre will not support laboratory research directly; however, the Centre will work with and fund investigators to strengthen their technoeconomic arguments for major funding agencies as to why their project might have high–impact.

Support Opportunities

  • Seed funding for new project ideas around sustainability
  • Tool and method development
  • Resident fellows: students, post-docs, faculty and industry colleagues
  • Workshops related to sustainability
  • Support for visitors and speakers related to sustainability

Proposal Evaluation Process

1.   An Executive Summary (2 page maximum) may be submitted at any time to include: 

  • Project title and participants.
  • Description of the key elements of the proposal and how they fit with the Centre Goals and Objectives.
  • Description of the project novelty. If you pitch for a project, please give a clear description of the technology you will use and explain why it is innovative. If you look for support for your workshop please provide a clear description of the objective, including the innovations or solutions you strive to achieve through this workshop.
  • Anticipated interaction with the Centre staff.
  • Deliverables and proposed timeline with milestones.

2.   Funds Requested and Budget (1 page maximum) 

  • Indicate total funds needed to complete the project and how they will be used.  List funds requested, i) from the Centre, and ii) in total.
  • Provide specific plans for seeking all funding needed to complete the overall project if possible and plans for matching funds from industry or government (strongly encouraged).

3.   Proposals will be screened internally. We may contact you for further information or clarification. Within 6 weeks you should receive the outcome of our preliminary evaluation. If we believe your project fits within our key objectives we will invite you for a pitch and set a date. In some cases we will ask you to review your project (and provide suggestions as to how) after which it can be re-submitted. Please note that not all projects submitted lead to a pitch. Only those that fall within the Centre’s interests will be accepted.

4.   Pitches usually take place Thursday mornings at 8:30am, but can be scheduled at othe times if more convenient.  Your pitch will take place in our meeting room which has excellent AV facilities. Part of our team will connect through Skype. We therefore ask you provide any presentation material (slides, pdf) at least one hour before the meeting so that we can forward it to our off site team members.

5.   The presentation should be prepared for a maximum of 30 minutes. Be prepared for questions afterwards and make sure you have an idea of the economic viability of your technology. Immediately following the presentation the Technical Team will discuss the proposal in private. A decision will be made at the conclusion of the discussion to, i) not move forward on the opportunity, ii) defer to a future date when a Team member has the time to perform the internal diligence, or iii) move forward on a detailed internal review and diligence process.

6.   If you pitched for workshop support, you should receive a formal reply within a week of your pitch. For project pitches a 1 – 4 week internal review will be performed by Centre team member(s) who during the private discussion have agreed to champion the proposal. The proposal will be evaluated independently in detail with potential questions referred back to the proposal authors. At the end of the internal review process the proposal champion will schedule a second internal meeting to present their assessment to the Team (possibly asking one of the proposals authors to attend) and a final funding recommendation will be made based on: i) the proposal, ii) availability of one or more Centre team members to remain associated with the project as a champion, iii) availability of funds. Within one week of the internal meeting a decision will be made and the proposal authors notified.

Successful Pitch Proposals

  • Energy Poverty Nexus
    Result: Funding for 2 PhD students over 3.5 years, including living allowances and some additional costs ($227,500)
  • Gas Fermentation & Methanotroph Fermentation
    Result: Funding for a Research Assistant, consumables and a workshop ($125,000)
  • Enzyme Engineering
    Result: Seed funding for initial experiments ($5,000). Depending on results further research may be funded
  • Paper: Uncovering e-Waste: Current Status and Future Opportunities
    Result: 50% funding for research and development to result in a joint paper ($13,125)
  • Survey: Unravelling Technical Professionals’ Perspectives on Nuclear Energy
    Result: Funding to conduct a survey among STEM professionals, which should result in a follow on program ($100,000)
  • IMMS9 Symposium – Keynote Speaker
    Result: Funding to host a keynote speaker ($12,500)
  • Workshop: Developing & Funding Synbio Research in Australia and New Zealand
    Result: Support funding ($5,000)
  • Workshop: Next Generation Fertilizers
    Result: Funding for Catering Costs ($675)


Your proposal should be submitted to Ms Celestien Warnaar