Smart City Innovation Challenges

Applications are now closed for our fourth Smart City Innovation Challenge. 

Find out more


Our Smart City Innovation Challenges are uncovering leading edge technology and data solutions to problems.

The Smart City Innovation Challenges are funded through our Smart Places Acceleration Program.

Register your interest to stay up to date about the Smart City Innovation Challenges.

Register your interest



  • Involve the emerging technology sector driving innovative smart technology solutions for places and people
  • Create new pathways for partnerships between the technology and innovation sector and the NSW Government
  • Grow the number of innovative smart places products, services, and solutions in NSW
  • Increase the commercialisation of NSW Government-funded innovation for smart places.

Program guidelines

Program guidelines are in place to support the delivery of the innovation challenges and these set out who can participate and how proposals will be assessed.

Read our program guidelines to check that you are eligible to take part.

Download the guidelines (PDF, 909.16 KB)

Indicative timelines

These timelines are indicative and subject to change.

Innovation Challenge process

Phase 1: Applications open 

2 months 

  • Applications assessed and successful applicants invited to participate in Pitchfest 
  • Applicants refine concept and prepare for Pitchfest 
  • Pitchfest event takes place

1-2 months    

  • Pitches assessed and successful applicants invited to complete feasibility study 

Phase 2: Feasibility studies commence 

2 months

  • Feasibility studies are completed

1-2 months

  • Feasibility studies are assessed and the successful applicant is invited to apply for Phase 3: Proof of concept.

Phase 3: Proof of concept commences 

12 months

  • Development of a Proof of Concept 


The innovation challenges are part of the Smart Places Acceleration Program. The acceleration program is facilitated through the Digital Restart Fund.

Find out more about the criteria for funding and the application process for the Digital Restart Fund.

How innovation challenges are run

Each challenge will relate to the priority problems of a sponsoring NSW Government agency or agencies.

A challenge statement will be released to an open market, with an invitation to submit a proposal.

Proposals will be assessed against set criteria by a judging panel, made up of relevant experts.

The criteria are in the Smart City Innovation Challenges – Guidelines (PDF, 636.93 KB).

Successful proposals will be invited to present their idea to the judging panel and sponsoring NSW Government agencies at a Pitchfest event.

Up to three pitched proposals will be supported with funding to partner with NSW Government experts and other partners in a structured feedback process to refine their solution and deliver a feasibility study.

Up to $1 million is available to deliver the concept further. This may include the development of a proof of concept and/or trialing implementation of the solutions.

Successful trials may lead to further opportunities to scale up the solution to other locations or services.

Challenge 1 – Circular Economy

A circular economy is about valuing and adding value to our resources by getting as much use out of products and materials as possible

Challenge 2 – Safer Public Spaces for Women and Girls

How might we use technology to help make public spaces feel safer and more comfortable for women and girls?

Challenge 3 - Active Transport

How might we use data and technology to better understand active transport in NSW and make evidence-based decisions to support adoption and mode shift?

Challenge 4 – Place-based data partnerships for vibrancy

How might place-based data sharing and analytics support vibrancy across NSW?