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.

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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.

Applications for the SURF program will be open from Tuesday 12 January 2021 until 11.59 pm AEDT on Tuesday 9 February 2021.

The department invites universities to apply for the SURF program using the Application Form. Please email your completed submission to

Please note: The deadline for applications to the Strategic University Reform Fund has been extended to 5:00pm (AEDT) Friday 12 February 2021. 
If your institution has already submitted an application, there is no requirement to submit another. 
This deadline is final and no further extensions will be considered.

The department expects to notify applicants in June 2021 with approved projects to commence from July 2021. Second and subsequent rounds will open in later years.

If you have any questions, please email the department at