Sustainable Packaging Innovation Challenge


Embark on a transformative journey with the Charles Sturt University Sustainable Packaging Innovation Challenge. Here, innovation meets sustainability, offering a platform to address the most pressing packaging challenges facing the wine and fresh food industries. Your ideas can lead the way in environmental stewardship and industry transformation.

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The Innovation Challenge Journey

Dive into the forefront of packaging innovation! We’re seeking pioneers eager to address one or multiple challenge statements described above, to revolutionise the wine and fresh food sectors.

Selected teams gain access to an online innovation sprint, uniquely tailored to elevate and rigorously evaluate their solutions under the mentorship of curators, who play a critical role in refining and focusing the solutions to ensure they meet the real world needs of industry. Curators, with their rich sector-specific knowledge, represent a diverse mix of perspectives from industry, government, commercial entities, and research institutions.

Success in this sprint leads to the opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions to a distinguished audience, including industry leaders, investors, and potential collaborators, at a high-profile event designed to spotlight the most promising and sustainable packaging solutions.

Key dates in the challenge



Open call

Promotion of the challenge to researcher, startups, SMEs and other innovators that allign with the challenge criteria and industries.

Applications are now closed.

April 22 - May 17

Innovation sprint


Up to 12 of the most innovative and impactful solutions will be invited for participation. Solutions will have to demonstrate their potential for significant environmental and industry advancements.


Industry experts are matched with innovators to stress test and refine solutions, ensuring they are both innovative and practical for real-world application.


Teams refine their solutions based on curator feedback. Those demonstrating notable progress are endorsed by a panel and invited to a showcase to present their requirements for adoption and scaling.

Solutions endorsed: May 21

12 June



Teams are guided in honing their pitches, emphasising their value, traction, and ROL, leading to a concise 7-8 minute presentation at the showcase. Here, they highlight their solutions and seek industry support for their sustainable packaging journey.

Funding and support

Teams that present compelling arguments will receive funding and in-kind support from Charles Sturt University and other co-contributors, facilitating their journey toward bringing sustainable  packaging solutions to market.

Join us at the showcase  event

Register Here

Challenge statements

In an exciting collaboration with leading industry stakeholders, we’ve crafted three key challenge statements, setting the stage for innovation in sustainable packaging. These challenges, rooted in comprehensive industry insights and research within the food and beverage sectors, serve as our benchmarks for evaluating groundbreaking solutions.

  1. Develop packaging solutions designed to minimise the carbon footprint at each stage of their life-cycle
  2. Seek innovations applicable across the industry that improve capturing the value of packaging after its first use
  3. Create novel packaging products and formats that are environmentally sustainable and appeal to emerging consumer markets

Who is this for?

The challenge is designed to support startups, research teams, SMEs, and other stakeholders with well-developed solutions to address the challenge statements identified.

Prospective applicants should consider the following before applying:

  • Suitability: Ensure your project directly addresses one or more of our Challenge Statements, specifically aimed at revolutionising the wine and fresh food sectors.
  • Maturity: Your solution should have moved beyond theory, demonstrating its functionality in a controlled environment. We also welcome applications from those further along in their journey, seeking to expand their impact and explore opportunities within the Australian market.
  • Commitment: Be ready to dedicate 2 days each week for 3 weeks, actively engaging with our team of curators to refine and advance your solution based on feedback.


At the showcase, teams will not only share their groundbreaking solutions but also compete for a share of a $75,000 prize pool.

This funding is for:

  • Prototyping: Further develop your solution into a tangible prototype, demonstrating its practicality and effectiveness.
  • Market Testing/Validation: Evaluate your solution in real-world settings to gather valuable feedback and refine its market fit.
  • Developing Go-to-Market Partnerships: Forge strategic alliances to facilitate the launch of your solution, ensuring it reaches the right audiences and markets effectively.

This funding not only accelerates the journey from concept to market for emerging innovations but also supports established solutions aiming to expand or enter the Australian market, offering a unique opportunity for both nascent and mature projects to scale and succeed.

Why should you apply?

  • Exclusive Industry Access: Leverage unparalleled exposure to and collaboration with industry partners like Wine Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia, and Planet Ark, opening doors to potential partnerships and support.
  • Tailored Expert Guidance: Benefit from a curated innovation sprint, where subject matter experts provide personalised feedback and mentorship, refining your solution to meet industry standards.
  • Showcase Opportunity: Earn the chance to pitch your solution at a prestigious showcase event to investors and key industry players, where selected projects can secure endorsement, funding, and implementation support.

Apply now