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Fishermans Bend, Australia’s largest urban renewal project is a centre of advanced manufacturing, engineering and design located across 480 hectares in Melbourne.

The Fishermans Bend Innovation Challenge presents a unique opportunity to explore ways the creative use of emerging technology and data could help build resilience for businesses, communities, environment and individuals.

We invited all eligible entrepreneurs, universities, researchers, start-ups, scale-ups and established organisations to take part in this challenge by exploring big ideas in Melbourne’s oldest innovation precinct.

Submissions for this challenge have now closed.

For questions or support, contact our team at

Image credit: Mari Adams, Calamari Pictures


Meet our six finalists

Learn about the top creative solutions proposed for the Fishermans Bend Innovation Challenge.

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The challenge

By 2050, Fishermans Bend National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC) will be a centre of innovation in advance manufacturing, engineering and design, a place that celebrates risk taking as an essential ingredient to innovation.

The Fishermans Bend NEIC is now home to Boeing, Siemens, and the Department of Defence. The University of Melbourne Engineering and Design Innovation Campus will also be established at Fishermans Bend.

The challenge statement:

What’s on offer?

The top three finalists from the Pilot stream will receive $3000 each to develop their proposals and mentoring with education and training firm 25eight.

We will invest $70,000 towards the winning pilot alongside in-kind contributions from the pilot team to bring the proposal to life in Fishermans Bend.

The top three finalists from the Ideas stream will receive mentoring with education and training firm 25eight to develop their pitches. They will be awarded cash and prizes with a total value of more than $20,000. Prizes will be tailored to the needs of the winners, with options including entrance into incubator programs (MAP Velocity or RMIT LaunchHub), Mo Works Product Discovery workshop, mentoring hours, business development avenues to progress the concept and more.

All applicants are invited to participate in a variety of in-person and online events, and access training and support to develop their pitches. See 'Key dates' and 'Challenge resources' in The Details tab for more information.

The details

From 16 March to 20 May we were seeking ideas that drive positive behavioural change and can be adapted beyond Fishermans Bend. Pitch ideas should be creative, accessible to all people and consider the digital urban infrastructure.

Get inspiration by viewing the Reimagining the City Challenge pitches in 2021.

All responses should:

  • Drive positive behavioural change. What would be most impactful to cause a person or community to change their behaviour?
  • Be transformative and transferrable. How could your idea cause important and lasting changes, not just at this site but beyond?
  • Achieve equal understanding. How could your solution be accessible, legible and meaningful for everyone, regardless of education or prior experience? At the minimum, your proposal should be both digitally and physically accessible.
  • Be creative. How could your solution use creativity to explore new and exciting ways to impact people?
  • Include consideration of digital urban infrastructure. How could you engage with the various layers including physical assets in our urban realm, devices attached to physical assets (sensors, IoT), communications networks enabling connectivity (3G/4G/5G, LoRaWAN, WiFi etc.), data and platforms and interaction layer (applications, dashboards, visualisation tools etc.)?
  • Sustainable transport modes like walking, riding and scooting.
  • Carbon impact of transport generally.
  • Traffic calming for all forms of transportation.
  • Evolving freight and logistics needs.
  • Energy production, consumption, storage, and sharing.
  • Resource usage – water, gas, electricity, oil.
  • Transitioning from a linear economy to a circular economy.
  • Models of consumption and utility, like rent vs purchase.
  • Carbon ‘footprints’.
  • Trees and positive impacts of plants and biodiversity.
  • Impacts of our behaviour on animals in immediate urban and remote environments like our oceans.
  • Water in the landscape - allowing room for water in the precinct.
  • What constitutes a safe space during an extreme weather event (not just about the physical e.g. temperature but network based. Does it have secure energy supply, internet etc.).
  • Clean technology: processes, products or services that reduce negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements that contribute to clean energy and climate adaption, delivering positive social and environmental benefits.
  • Advanced manufacturing: globally competitive innovative technology to improve products or processes, for example 3D printing, producing new composite materials, ways of automating manufacturing.

Fishermans Bend is made up of five precincts across the City of Melbourne and Port Phillip. The vision for Fishermans Bend is to be a thriving place that is a leading example for environmental sustainability, liveability, connectivity, diversity and innovation.

The Fishermans Bend NEIC has a rich history and has long been synonymous with innovation and ingenuity in Australia’s manufacturing and industrial history; it is where the first Holden was produced, and the black box flight recorder was invented. Currently, Fishermans Bend NEIC is an employment precinct, already recognised for innovation and manufacturing, that is home to Boeing, the Department of Defense, Bega Foods, Siemens and Blackmagic Design.

In the future, Fishermans Bend NEIC will be home to over 40,000 jobs and 20,000 students by 2050. In addition to great infrastructure, green spaces, connectivity, schools, roads, transport, community facilities and services to help the precinct grow and thrive, The University of Melbourne is planning to establish a world-leading engineering and design innovation campus in the area - opening 2025 - which will be a catalyst for further change.

In partnership with the Victorian Government, we see the Fishermans Bend National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC) as a fantastic opportunity for an Emerging Technology Testbed, to use data and technology to solve problems and create positive outcomes. This testbed challenge was developed with industry and community members during a workshop in September 2021.

A testbed challenge is an open competition for pitches that innovate through technology and data to address pertinent city issues.

This testbed challenge will contribute to City of Melbourne’s Council Plan (2021-25)

  • Major Initiative 52: engage and prepare residents and communities to enhance their resilience to hazards, disasters and the health impacts of climate change.
  • Major Initiative 28: Global leader on climate action.
  • Major Initiative 9: support the development of globally competitive innovation ecosystems, as well as our Transport Strategy goals.

Entries will be narrowed down to six finalists (three in the Pitch stream and three in the Idea stream), followed by one winning pilot proposal.

The winning pilot proposal will be established as a pilot and trialled at Fishermans Bend, with potential to implement on a larger scale. Through the City of Melbourne’s Emerging Technology Testbed (established in 2018) there have been two challenges and six applied technology and process pilots. These pilots have allowed for collaborative, strategic and transparent testing of the opportunities and impacts of new technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things, video analytics, public-space sensors and more. Data and insights from these pilots have been used to inform decision-making around the application of emerging technology in our city. Discover current testbed projects on the Emerging Technology Testbed homepage.

This testbed challenge was collaboratively developed during a workshop in September. Twenty-five attendees represented many different industries including education, data and research, creative arts, design, innovation, emerging technology and devices, utilities, events and community engagement, architecture and defence.

The challenge statement was developed as a result of the insights and discussions in this workshop. Read more about workshop outcomes below.

Some of the things discussed in the workshop included:

  • Aboriginal community inclusion (self-determined)
  • Equality, justice and safety for all (including environmental justice, housing affordability and homelessness, asylum seekers and refugees)
  • Infrastructure for imagination and dreaming together
  • People-first technology and data applications (including data-oriented decision making, transparency and data-sharing)
  • Climate and environmental protection and resilience
  • Support and integration of arts and culture
  • Diverse and connected communities
  • Agile systems to support a changing world of work
  • Intuitive services and infrastructure
  • Good design
  • Truly sustainable urban development
  • Walkability and urban transport systems

The outcomes from the workshop directly informed the testbed challenge statement and criteria.

We asked Melbourne writer Khalid Warsame and illustrator Mari Adams to join our testbed workshop and create fictional stories to explore some of the topics discussed.

Sharing of these creative voices will hopefully encourage creative imagining and help generate ideas.

With Khalid’s story, we join Rama and her partner in a poorly rendered retirement district, as they prepare to cross a salt bridge to Fishermans Bend. It is the last remaining suburb where real soil and a restored and biodiverse environment prospers because of advanced technologies and efforts of the local landowners and custodians of the land.

With Mari’s illustration, we take the role of a commuting mother and consider pathways of people, animals and technology and how they will co-exist. How will the past, present and future be known or accessible at Fishermans Bend in 2050?

Explore their futures via the Challenge pack or on the MKW Insights platform.

Each application must present a solution that responds to the testbed challenge statement.

There are two options for your submission:

APilot pitch’ for proposals that are developed and can be implemented in the next twelve months.

An ‘Idea pitch’ for innovative concepts that aren’t fully resolved or able to be realised without significant further development.

The following details must be included in your application:

  • How your pitch uses technology and data to deliver results.
  • Timeline (for Pilot pitches, results need to be delivered within 12 months).
  • Consideration beyond implementation: what is its value of your idea in the long term?
  • Simple visual aids including maps or illustrations
  • How it responds to the key criteria as stated in the section below.

Three finalists from each stream will be selected. All finalists will receive mentorship from 25eight to develop their ideas and pitches in preparation for the public pitch event. Finalists from the Pilot stream will each receive $3000 funding to develop detailed plans to bring their pilots to life.

More information in 'judging process’ below.

The following criteria will be applied by a judging panel which includes representatives from the City of Melbourne and partner organisations. Submissions involving two or more organisations and multiple sectors will be looked at favourably. Join one of our upcoming mixers, online or in-person, or share your details on our Partnerships page to meet potential partners.)

  1. Universal Access. The submission must demonstrate universal accessibility (considering ability, location, education, finances, languages spoken, gender, sexuality, religion, age etc.).
  2. Trust, Transparency and Privacy. The proposed end-to-end solution must consider trust, transparency and privacy, with relation to the use of data and new technologies.
  3. Innovation. Is the submission unique or adds value to existing solutions?
  4. Impact. Does the submission demonstrate the potential to affect change? The submission must define who the change impacts.
  5. Desirability. Will the submission be enjoyable, meeting the desires and needs of users?
  6. Feasibility. Is the pitch or idea realistic? Can the submission translate into a sustainable and cost-effective operating model?
  7. Viability. Can the idea or pitch be sustained, operated, and have long term benefits? The submission must present a viable, scalable solution and be technically and conceptually sound.
  1. All submissions will initially be assessed to determine submission eligibility.
  2. All eligible submissions will be assessed by the judging panel to determine a selection of three finalists for each category, privately notified.
  3. Six finalists (three in each stream) will receive training and support to develop their proposal over four weeks, develop their pitches, and test and validate their ideas further. Pilot stream finalists will receive $3000 each, to reflect the level of resolution that is expected in the proposals on the pitch night.
  4. In a public event and exhibition, the Pilot stream finalists will share their developed proposals in a seven-minute pitch (the presentations will be shared on Participate Melbourne).
  5. The winner will be determined by a panel of judges and the wider community. Fifty per cent of votes will be given by the judging panel comprising of representatives for state and local government, community organisations, traditional land-owners and independent experts. The remaining 50 per cent will be determined by the community via an open vote for a period of two weeks. All scores will be made public.
  6. Prizes for the Ideas stream will be announced on the pitch evening. The Pilot pitch winner will be announced two weeks after the pitch night.
  7. Only one pitch will proceed to piloting their idea with a funding pool of $70,000.
  • Challenge launch: Wednesday 16 March
  • Challenge mixer: Tuesday 5 April, 1.30pm (online), Wednesday 6 April, 6pm (in person)
  • Pitch workshops with 25eight: 6pm Thursday 14 April (online), 12pm Thursday 28 April (online)
  • 1:1 mentor sessions: 18 to 21 April and 25 to 28 April
  • Challenge closed: Friday 20 May 5pm
  • Top three finalists in each category notified + pitch night announced: Wednesday 8 June
  • Finalists in the Pitch stream to develop final pitch: Wednesday 8 June to Wednesday 6 July
  • Pitch night, voting open + prizes for Ideas pitches announced: Thursday 7 July
  • Voting closed for Pilot pitches: Thursday 21 July 5pm
  • Announcement of successful pilot: early August 2022
  • Winning pilot developed at Fishermans Bend: from August 2022

Challenge pack

A challenge pack featuring historical information, a current snapshot of Fishermans Bend and future planning and imaginings can be downloaded at the link below, to aid in the generation of ideas and thoughtful submissions.

View challenge pack

Online training

A 25eight online pitch training portal is available for all challenge participants to help you hone your submission.

Register for the training:


To aid the development of great ideas, a series of online and in-person events will run from March 2022 including Challenge mixers (in-person and online), online Pitch workshops, an online data deep-dive with Neighbourlytics and 1:1 mentor sessions (details to be announced soon). Depending on needs and demands, some additional sessions may be announced.

1. Challenge mixer, online session at 1.30pm Tuesday 5 April, in-person session 6.00pm Wednesday 6 April

These sessions will be dedicated to ‘mixing’ where all attendees will have a chance to introduce themselves and meet potential work partners in smaller break-out groups. All attendees should come with a short 60-second pitch about themselves and their experience, their idea or a specific topic they'd like to explore. A Q&A session will be hosted during the online session. The recording from this segment will be shared online following.

*These sessions have now passed however if you're looking for a partner you can register your details on our Partnerships page where people can browse for partners.*

Watch a recording of the information session online here:

2. 1:1 Online and in-person mentor sessions, 18 to 21 April and 25 to 28 April

Attendees will have 30 minutes with a testbed mentor to review their ideas or submission and ask questions (limit of booking one per person). Meet our mentors and book a session on our Mentors and experts page.

3. Online pitch workshops with 25eight, 12pm Thursday 14 April and 6pm Thursday 28 April

Education and training experts in innovation and entrepreneurship, 25eight, will deliver training to guide impactful submissions. Links and information will be emailed to those who register.

4. Online urban life data deep-dive with Neighbourlytics, 2pm Thursday 7 April

In this two-hour session with Neighbourlytics Urban Life Experts, learn about what the social data in Fishermans Bend is saying.

This event is in the past, watch the recording here:

This is a global competition open to people anywhere in the world. You must identify as one or more of the following in order to submit a proposal:

  • Entrepreneur/Individual
  • University/Researcher
  • Startup (a newly established business with growth potential and attractive to investors.)
  • Scaleup (a business that is in the process of expanding and entering new markets.)
  • Established Organisation (a recognised and organized group of people with a particular purpose, such as a business, not-for-profit, social enterprise or government department.)
  • A combination of the above

In your submission, you will need to indicate at which stage of development your submission is:

  • Idea pitch – early-stage idea with significant development required
  • Pilot pitch – this can be any of the following; early viable product phase (a prototype exists and has been demonstrated 3+ times), Alpha/Beta product (established product ready for beta testing before entering market) or solution (an iteration or new application of an existing product).


  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Challenge open

    16 March to 5pm 20 May 2022

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Challenge mixers

    • Tuesday 5 April, 1.30pm (online)
    • Wednesday 6 April, 6.00pm (in person)
    • Neighbourlytics data workshop, Thursday 7 April 2pm (online)
  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Pitch workshops with 25eight

    • Thursday 14 April 12pm (online)
    • Thursday 28 April 6pm (online)
  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    1:1 mentor sessions

    18 to 21 April and 25 to 28 April

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    Pilot stream closed

    15 May 2022

  • Timeline item 6 - complete

    Pilot stream submissions review


  • Timeline item 7 - complete

    Ideas stream extension period

    Until 15 June 2022

  • Timeline item 8 - complete

    Top three finalists in each category notified + pitch night announced

    29 June 2022

  • Timeline item 9 - complete

    Top six finalists announced

    1 July 2022

  • Timeline item 10 - complete

    Pitch night at Fishermans Bend

    28 July 2022

  • Timeline item 11 - complete

    Voting open for Pilot pitches

    From 28 July to 18 August

  • Timeline item 12 - complete

    ​Announcement of successful pilot

    August 26 2022

  • Timeline item 13 - complete

    ​Winning pilot developed at Fishermans Bend

    From August 2022

Discussion forum

Share your questions, thoughts, ideas or comments about the innovation challenge below, or reach out directly at

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Emerging Technology Testbed

This project is part of the Emerging Technology Testbed, which allows us to explore how emerging technologies impact Melbourne on different scales.