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Strategic Opportunities Fund

The Strategic Opportunities program supports a small number of initiatives that are aimed at providing skills development and training for the screen industry. Initiatives should be responsive to industry needs, designed to assist in the growth of a sustainable, diverse and inclusive film, television and games sector. This is a big-picture funding program that supports initiatives that will offer immediate, medium, and long-term benefits to the industry.

Proposed activities must have strong strategic alignment with Screen Australia’s key objectives, challenges and focus areas for industry development.

Due to the limited nature of Industry Development funding, applicants are required to discuss the scope and details of their proposal for their strategic opportunity initiative and confirm funding availability with either the Head of Industry Development or the Industry Development Manager. Contact the Program Operations team if you are unsure of who to speak with on 1800 507 901 or Industry Development.


The aims of the program are to: 

  • increase capacity and support the development of crew and gamemakers to address skills shortages in the immediate, medium and long-term with initiatives that lead to employment outcomes;

  • support initiatives that lead to the healthy infrastructure needed for the continued viability and sustainability of the screen sector;

  • increase diversity, equity and inclusion in below-the-line crew or gamemaker roles.

What funding is available?

  • Applications may be made for a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $150,000.
  • Funding can only be used towards costs directly related to the provision of training and skills development activities. Funding can only be used for the training of Australian practitioners.
  • An exception to the $150,000 funding limit for any one initiative may be considered under exceptional circumstances where the applicant can demonstrate significant benefits to the industry.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Applicants must apply as an Australian company. Individuals are not eligible to apply. 
  • Applications will not be accepted for initiatives that would ordinarily be eligible for other Screen Australia funding programs.
  • All applicants and initiatives must also meet the eligibility criteria under Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.
  •  Initiatives must provide genuine career advancement opportunities for below-the-line crew and gamemakers and/or genuinely increase diversity, equity and inclusion in below-the-line crew or gamemaker roles. 

What will not be funded?

  • Funding cannot be used for the development or production of screen content. 
  • Funding cannot be used to fund or substitute a paid crew role on any production or project. 
  • Funding cannot be used for professional placements or attachments that are a requirement of Screen Australia, a state or territory screen agency or covered as part of another industry program.
  • Funding cannot be used for retrospective expenditure nor can it be used for training or skills development for individuals who are already working at the grade unless there is a detailed case that the step up will mean they are working differently (e.g., moving from one genre/format to another).

How to Apply

First, please speak to a member of the Screen Australia Industry Development team by emailing [email protected].

Then, applications can be made via the SmartyGrants application portal at least six weeks prior to the starting date of the activity. As part of your application, you will need to submit the following information and supporting materials:  

  • fully completed application form including contact details and confirmation of eligibility
  • a brief description explaining how the initiative meets the aims of the Strategic Opportunities Program
  • an Initiative Proposal & Activity Plan which outlines the rationale for funding, initiative design (structure and performance framework), an implementation plan (planning, preparation, implementation, contract management, monitoring and evaluation), location/s and intended participants, and any proposed partnerships
  • information about the applicant company: experience, structure and details of principals and key staff
  • details of individuals involved in the management or delivery of the initiative including a bio of the individual’s experience in the industry and suitability for the role
  • details of how the initiative will provide opportunities for First Nations people and/or increasing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our sector.
  • intended outcomes and KPIs (should be quantifiable)
  • a detailed budget that addresses all components of the initiative including any co-contribution from the applicant, proposed partners or other third parties.

Application budgets may include expenditure for accessibility, support or other costs for the implementation of the proposed activities to ensure opportunities being provided are culturally safe and accessible.

Co-contributions or third-party finance toward the initiative is strongly encouraged, but not essential.

All applicants should consider diversity, equity and inclusion, with opportunities being provided in a manner that supports the career development of workers from diverse communities reflecting contemporary Australian life.

Assessment Process and Criteria

The Program Operations team will review each application to determine eligibility and ensure that required application materials have been provided. Once eligibility has been confirmed, the applicant will receive an email advising that their application has moved to assessment and an estimated timeframe of the outcome notification.

Screen Australia executives and/or industry specialists will assess all applications against the aims and assessment criteria of the Strategic Opportunities program.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Initiative Merit: How well does the Initiative Proposal and Activity Plan outline the rationale for funding, the achievability of the proposed initiative design and implementation, and other aspects of the activities to be funded under the program?
  • Strategic Objectives: How well do the proposed activities meet the aims of the Strategic Opportunities program, including the suitability of the activities to be implemented as part of the plan?
  • Company experience: How experienced is the company that will be delivering the proposed activities? How experienced are the individual/s that will oversee the initiative and what is their capacity and capability to implement the Initiative Proposal and Activity Plan?
  • Budget: How well does the proposed budget address the activities set out in the Initiative Proposal and Activity Plan?
  • Impact: How many individuals will benefit from the proposed Initiative Proposal and Activity Plan and to what degree will the proposed activities benefit the Australian screen sector?
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: How has the applicant considered diversity, equity and inclusion in the planning and proposed delivery of the activities?

Applicants will be notified of the outcome within four-to-six weeks of notification of eligible application.

We aim to make the application and assessment processes as transparent as possible, but given the volume of applications we receive, we may not have the resources to provide feedback on each proposal.

Terms of funding

If you are successful with your application, you will need to enter into a Screen Australia grant agreement with specific non-negotiable core conditions.

Funding will be in the form of a non-recoupable grant.

Reporting Obligations:

  •   It will be a requirement of the funding agreement to maintain and report at regular intervals in relation to the deliverables, KPIs and implementation of the Activity Plan, including any cultural safety plans.
  • Acquittal of funding will include necessary data for evaluating the Initiative Proposal and Activity Plan against KPIs, in addition to diversity and inclusion reporting.
  • Screen Australia will also establish post-plan contact and monitoring of participants who have benefited from the initiative and funded activities for both reporting requirements and career trajectory assistance and progression.

Any personal information collected from Reporting Obligations will be handled in accordance with Screen Australia’s Privacy Policy.

If you have any questions after reviewing these guidelines, the application form, and the FAQs, please contact Program Operations on 1800 507 901 or via email at [email protected]

Please note that we are unable to provide creative advice or suggestions to strengthen your application.