A further $8.5 million in Commonwealth funding is on offer to help Australian cybersecurity companies grow their ideas and expand the local sector.

Cyber-focused industry growth centre AustCyber has opened applications for its second round of funding as part of the $15 million, three-year AustCyber Projects Fund.

The first round of the scheme saw $6.5 million dished out to 10 projects.

The new $8.5 million round will provide matched funding of between $100,000 and $3 million, for up to 50 per cent of a cyber-focused project’s overall costs.

Minister for Industry Karen Andrews said the funding is vital to helping the local industry grow and develop.

“Australia’s cybersecurity industry is continually growing and this funding will further boost our ability to become a global leader in the field, creating more Australian jobs while also making the nation more cyber resilient,” Andrews said.

“The funding will assist the cybersecurity industry to upskill and expand the sector, and harness the enormous opportunities available to Australia. The Morrison government is committed to supporting the cybersecurity industry to reach its full potential by capturing a significant share of the global market and creating jobs for the future.”

The second funding round is split into two two project categories: proposed projects addressing one or more “sector challenges” that provide core infrastructure for the sustained growth of Australia’s cybersecurity sector, and proposed projects that do not address these sector challenges.

To be eligible, a company must have an Australian Business Number, be registered for GST, be at least one year old, incorporated in Australia or be an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust and have access to or ownership of the intellectual property needed to conduct the project.

The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that it has the financial ability to complete the project.

Applications can be from an individual business or a consortium of companies and those that are short-listed by AustCyber will have to pitch in front of a technical review panel.

Successful applicants in AustCyber’s first funding round included a project for unique smart barcode technology that allowed users to identify and verify the quality of products they were buying through a smartphone, and technology that facilitated the independent authentication of personal data stored and managed on mobile devices.

AustCyber was launched in 2017 as part of the federal government’s Industry Growth Centres initiative.