Applying for Funding



Due to COVID-19 disruptions, there will be no Call for Applications until further notice

- For more information refer to the FAQs on FRDC Research Projects 


Download and read the RD&E priorities for investment 

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.

LEADING investment in a number of areas through research subprograms. Subprograms are established to either address an area of market failure or to allow a dedicated research program and budget in a key area of opportunity. Subprograms operate in a similar method to Research Advisory Committees (RACs) and Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) and can obtain applications to address priorities in several ways; putting priorities out in open calls for applications, select tendering or direct commissioning with a research provider. There are currently six subprograms. Should you have an interest in the projects currently funded or future opportunities under the subprograms please contact the program leader - contact details are on the Advisory Groups page of the website (Advisory Groups).

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 over setting research priorities and making recommendations on which projects to fund.

There are eight RACs, one for each jurisdiction and 11 IPA’s (see Advisory Groups). These groups can conduct an open call for applications, conduct a select tender or directly commission projects with a research provider. Should you have a project idea or just an interest in potential research opportunities relevant to one of the jurisdictions or IPAs please contact the relevant person from the Advisory Groups page.

COLLABORATE is a funding mechanism by which the FRDC is trying to encourage industry sectors through IPAs, the jurisdictions and/or subprograms to invest together in projects addressing common priority areas. Basically, the FRDC will put funding into a project if a RAC, IPA and/or subprogram or multiples of these decide to invest in a project together, thereby reducing the impact on their budgets. Again if you have a project idea or can expand on a priority in an open call to address common issues across multiple sectors, jurisdictions or subprograms please contact the relevant people from the Advisory Groups page to discuss.


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.

Open Call Funding Rounds

The FRDC invests through a flexible approach. Part of this approach allows the Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs) and Subprograms to call for applications based on their priorities generally three times per year in November, April and August. If the RACs, IPAs and Subprograms do not have any priorities they wish to address, a call for applications may NOT occur.

The FIRST CALL for applications may be developed in January, or as required, following the RAC, subprogram and IPA meetings.

  • Closing date for applications is in 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 may be developed in April, or as required, following the RAC, subprogram and IPA meetings.

  • Closing date for applications is in 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 may be developed in August, or as required, following the RAC, subprogram and IPA meetings.

  • Closing date for applications is in 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 - see Advisory Group page

Process for applying for funding

All applications for funding to the FRDC must come through the FRDCs funding application portal.

Step 1:  Register for FishNet

Step 2:  Monitor any open calls for applications (once registered for FishNet you will be send notification when an open call is announced) OR

Step 3:  Make yourself familiar with the FRDC’s stakeholder groups and their relevant research priority areas either by visiting their websites or making contact with the group, details are on the Advisory Groups page.

Step 4:  Complete a FishNet application for the project idea you have referencing the priority that you are addressing. If applying through an open call round or a select tender process then complete an Expression of Interest application, if applying by direct commissioning then complete a Full Application. More explicit detail on completing FishNet applications can be found in the FishNet help file.

Step 5:  Once completed the FRDC will circulate applications to the relevant advisory group for evaluation. Additionally the FRDC may commission an expert review of an application if felt it will add value.

Step 6:   Based on the evaluation of the advisory group/s the FRDC will then evaluate the application prior to making a recommendation for approval or not of an application to either the Executive Director or the FRDC board.

It is important to consider the following documents in the preparation of your application.  You will also need to consider the priorities of the relevant stakeholders:


Underlying principles for funding

FRDC investment is overseen by the following guiding principles: 

  • maximise efficiency and effectiveness
  • avoid duplication
  • minimise administration costs
  • invest prospectively (not retrospectively)
  • be flexible
  • maximise opportunities for collaboration
  • encourage the generation of novel and innovative ideas
  • mainly focus on pre-competitive RD&E
  • maximise leverage opportunities and the creation of value
  • ensure end-users are engaged along the innovation chain from problem definition and idea generation to output adoption, in order to deliver relevance and a greater likelihood of adoption
  • ensure a balanced investment portfolio 
  • meet the FRDC’s obligations under the National Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy
  • meet the FRDC’s obligations under relevant RD&E priority and planning documents


Other Funding Mechanisms

Applications for projects through a Board Initiative or Industry Partnership Agreement (IPA) require an application to the FRDC for approval.  Dependent on the activity the application will either be the EOI or a full application process. 

Board Initiatives

The FRDC Board as part of its role in setting directions for the organisation, and to a certain extent to better understand the future operating environment may initiate projects on specific issues or areas. 

Industry Partnership Agreements (IPA)

Industry Partnership Agreements are an agreement between the FRDC and a sector body to manage a suite of sectoral projects over a specified time period against an agreed industry strategic plan. The priorities and projects selected are generally identified by the industry body and are specific to its needs.

Applications for IPA funded research are carried out via an open process (similar to that of the Annual Competitive Round) that ends with funding approval from both the industry body and FRDC Board. Researchers looking to undertake IPA research must contact the relevant industry body.