Flexible investment approach

The FRDC is adopting a more flexible approach to the application, submission and assessment of research funding proposals 

By Peter Horvat

The FRDC has developed a more flexible approach to how it funds projects to align with the FRDC Research Development and Extension (RD&E) Plan principles of ‘Lead, Collaborate and Partner’. Nationally, the FRDC will LEAD and target investment towards three national research priorities: 

  • ensuring that Australian fishing and aquaculture products are sustainable and acknowledged to be so;
  • improving productivity and profitability of fishing and aquaculture; and
  • developing new and emerging aquaculture growth opportunities.

Partnering involves devolving some authority to jurisdictions through research advisory committees (RACS) and industry sectors through Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) – to allow them greater ownership of how and where to invest.

The FRDC has an RAC for each fishery jurisdiction: Commonwealth, all states and the Northern Territory. Each RAC consists of a chair and members who provide expertise in the areas of fishing, aquaculture, management (fisheries), research, environment, post-harvest and other community interests, and is managed by an FRDC project manager (see contacts, right).

IPAs are in place with 11 different industry sectors, and allow industry groups to identify and prioritise issues that relate to their sector and ensure RD&E investment against those priorities. Each IPA is managed by an FRDC project manager (see contacts, right) and an industry executive officer who reports to their governance committee.

Stakeholder priority setting

In September and October the RACs and IPAs will meet to discuss and set priorities for the coming year. Following these meetings the FRDC will convene a workshop of advisory groups around October each year to discuss the developed priorities, align them and identify areas for potential collaboration. RACs and IPAs will also be able to further develop their priorities when they meet in March, July and October each year, or should a major issue arise, they will be able to progress research to deal with that issue.

Application process

The FRDC will evaluate applications based on two levels of assessment:

  • Greater than $175,000 (incl GST) assessed by the FRDC Board. This will occur at the April, August and November board meetings.
  • Less than $175,000 (incl GST) and considered low risk, assessed by the FRDC. An application can be submitted at any time where an RAC, subprogram or IPA has available funds, and wishes to address an issue. These projects must have a budget of less than $175,000 and be considered a low risk by the FRDC.

A summary of the process is as follows:

The FIRST CALL for applications will be posted in November.

  • Closing date for applications is 15 February.
  • Applications will be assessed by the RACs, subprograms and IPAs in March.
  • The FRDC will assess these applications in April and notify applicants in April–May.

The SECOND CALL for applications will be developed in April, as required, following the RAC, subprogram and IPA meetings.  

  • Closing date for applications is 15 June.
  • Applications will be assessed by the RACs, subprograms and IPAs in July.
  • The FRDC will assess these applications in August and notify applicants in August–September.

The THIRD CALL for applications will be developed in August, as required, following the RAC, subprogram and IPA meetings.  

  • Closing date for applications is 15 September. 
  • Applications will be assessed by the RACs, subprograms and IPAs in October. 
  • The FRDC will assess these applications in November and notify applicants in November–December.  

If in doubt, check with the FRDC’s project managers.


FRDC contacts

The FRDC has also restructured the way it manages research, development and extension (RD&E) internally. FRDC managers now have portfolios made up of RACs, subprograms and IPAs. When an applicant responds to a priority they will need to consult with the relevant FRDC managers.

Christopher Izzo, christopher.izzo@frdc.com.au
Tasmanian RAC
Victorian RAC
South Australian RAC
Commonwealth RAC

Skye Barrett, skye.barrett@frdc.com.au
Western Australian RAC
Northern Territory RAC
Queensland RAC
New South Wales RAC

Wayne Hutchinson, wayne.hutchinson@frdc.com.au
Australian Barramundi Farmers Association IPA
Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association IPA
Australian Prawn Farmers Association IPA
Australian Abalone Growers Association IPA
SafeFish
Yellowtail Kingfish RD&E through the Rural Research and Development for Profit programme

Jo-Anne Ruscoe, jo-anne.ruscoe@frdc.com.au
Oysters Australia IPA
Pearling IPA
Social Sciences and Economics Research Coordination Program
Indigenous Fishing Subprogram
Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity
Subprogram
People Development (national)

Joshua Fielding, joshua.fielding@frdc.com.au
Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association IPA
Southern Rocklobster IPA
Abalone Council Australia IPA
Recfishing Research Subprogram
New and Emerging Aquaculture Subprogram

Crispian Ashby, crispian.ashby@frdc.com.au
Western Rocklobster IPA
Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries IPA


More information

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation