Strategic University Reform Fund

Through the Budget the Government is investing $40 million in funding over four years to create the Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF).

This initiative will encourage universities to undertake novel reform in areas of Government priority and enable universities to develop targeted and innovative solutions that are focused on local communities.

SURF projects will

  • Create strong links between higher education institutions and business and industry
  • Enhance collaboration between universities and local employers
  • Improve commercialisation of applied research
  • Enable Government to work with the sector to respond to local priorities.

SURF builds on industry linkage pilot projects funded in the 2019-20 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to incentivise greater university and business collaboration in research innovation and workforce preparation.

The SURF Program Guidelines outline SURF eligibility, program objectives and outcomes, the application process and criteria, and selection process.

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Announcement of successful projects for inaugural SURF funding

On 10 June 2021, the former Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Education and Youth, approved 10 projects for funding following the inaugural round of the SURF program.

These projects are:

  • University of Wollongong – The Telstra-UOW Hub for AIOT Solutions
  • University of Southern Queensland – New Options for Waste And Saving The Environment (NO WASTE) Precinct
  • University of Queensland – UQ Agrifood Innovation Centre
  • Charles Darwin University – Northern Australia Food Technology Innovation
  • University of Technology, Sydney – SME@UTS
  • Southern Cross University – ReCirculator
  • Charles Darwin University – Renewable Energy Microgrid Hub for Applied Research
  • La Trobe University – Regional Advanced Manufacturing 4.0 Hub
  • James Cook University – Northern Australian Digital Health Platform
  • Deakin University – Hycel Technology Hub

Further SURF application rounds are expected to be held. The department will notify universities of future application rounds prior to opening.

If you have any questions, please email the department at

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