New Technology Proving

1. Introduction

The Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is calling for expressions of interest (EOIs) for pilot projects to be funded under its New Technology Proving capability.

The call for EOIs is stage one of a three stage process.

  • Stage two will be a request for proponents of priority EOIs to develop project plans and budgets for approval and funding. N.B. Not all priority EOIs will necessarily be funded as the portfolio of priorities will need to be matched to available resources.
  • Stage three will be oversight and evaluation of the funded projects including recommendations on future investment, or not.

Stage one EOIs are to be submitted via an online form which can be accessed here. Both the IMOS New Technology Proving EOI Form and IMOS Project Budget Template can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

The following guidelines can be downloaded as a pdf file here.

2. Background

The New Technology Proving Facility was conceived during the IMOS 2018-22 planning process, approved by the IMOS Board in November 2018, and launched at the IMOS Annual Planning Meeting in Brisbane on 12-14 February 2019.

The establishment of a New Technology Proving capability in IMOS is an exciting development that will provide direct investment in piloting new technologies, methods, and approaches within the program. If successful, pilots will be matured to become part of IMOS on an ongoing basis.

Due to uncertainty about funding over many years, IMOS has not been in a position to invest in piloting new technologies for some time. Establishment of a New Technology Proving capability therefore presents a significant, new opportunity for the IMOS community.

There are two important principles that will guide our approach:

  • Firstly, IMOS has adopted the global Framework for Ocean Observing including its concept of readiness levels. Projects funded under the New Technology Proving capability will be targeted at ‘Pilot’ readiness levels, with a view to successful pilots becoming ‘Mature’ over time. Projects at ‘Proof of Concept’ readiness levels are ineligible.
  • Secondly, IMOS has decided to adopt a broad definition of ‘new technology', recognising that projects could include both hard and soft technologies, spanning from new kit in the water, through improved work flows, to new analysis techniques. New technologies, methods and approaches are all in scope, and use of the term ‘New Technology Proving’ should be seen as shorthand.

The call for EOIs is being made in the context of IMOS forward strategy and planning. It is not an open call for anyone to propose anything. Proponents of EOIs are expected to have or obtain a sound understanding of IMOS, both current status and future directions – see http://imos.org.au/. The IMOS Office is available to provide clarification as required.

The scale of IMOS investment (excluding co-investment) is $0.5M per annum, noting that IMOS is currently funded to 30 June 2022. Prospects for longer-term funding are strong (to 2029 and beyond), and we encourage the community to think about this New Technology Proving opportunity on a decadal timeframe.

Clear criteria are provided as part of the process (see below). In general terms however, the objectives of investment in a New Technology Proving capability are to make IMOS:

  1. more efficient i.e. able to do the same with less (freeing up investment to do new things);
  2. more effective i.e. able to more with the same (increasing value for money); and/or
  3. more expansive i.e. able to do substantially more with more (looking for mulitpliers).

Experience over thirteen years to date is that the IMOS community will have no problem with submitting exciting EOIs that meet the criterion for expansion. Improving efficiency and effectiveness has proved far more elusive to date. It will be actively incentivised through this process.  Efficiency and effectiveness criteria will therefore have proportional weighting in prioritising projects to be funded under the IMOS New Technology Proving capability. No more than a third of the available funding will be allowed to go to projects primarily focused on enhancement.

3. Process

Stage one EOIs are to be submitted via an online form which can be accessed here.

EOIs will be assessed by the IMOS Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) against clear criteria set out below.

EOIs are due by no later than Friday 3 May 2019.

STAC will assess the EOIs and make recommendations to the IMOS Office by no later than Friday 14 June 2019.

Proponents of priority EOIs will then be asked to develop project plans and budgets for approval and funding by no later than Friday 26 July 2019.

STAC will assess the project plans and budgets during August 2019 and make recommendations to the IMOS Office for approval with a view to having agreements in place for projects to start from 1 October 2019.

To initiate the process, $1M of IMOS 2018-22 funding for New Technology Proving will be provided to back this first call for EOIs.

Projects can be proposed for up to two years in length, and up to a maximum value of $333K over the two years (excluding co-investment). The intention of the funding limit is to ensure we have the capacity to support at least three projects from the initial $1M investment.

4. Criteria

Projects funded under the IMOS New Technology Proving capability will be prioritised based on the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrable alignment with IMOS strategy and long-term planning
  2. Potential to make IMOS more efficient by lowering the cost of existing activities
  3. Potential to make IMOS more effective by providing greater spatial or temporal coverage or by adding new variables, at little or no incremental cost
  4. Potential to expand IMOS to include new variables or to work at new time and space scales, based on an attractive level of additional cost per observation
  5. Assessment of the technical readiness level (TRL) of the proposed new technology, method, or approach. IMOS is targeting ‘pilot’ TRLs 4 (trial), 5 (verification) and 6 (operational) per the Framework for Ocean Observing - see below.
  6. Evidence of user demand for the sustained observations/data that will flow from what the project delivers
  7. Feasibility of successfully implementing the project by leveraging the existing IMOS observing and data system
  8. Plausibility of successfully achieving the objective of the project in the available time with the available resources
  9. Level of co-investment from partners involved in the project

Framework Processes by Readiness Levels

Submission of EOI

All EOIs must be uploaded via this form.