Research Advisory Committees

 

Apply here to sit on the FRDC Research Advisory Committees

APPLY NOW

Applications close 10 February at 23:59 pm

 

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) have supported a network of eight Research Advisory Committees (RACs, and prior to that FRABs) representing the jurisdictions of each State, the Commonwealth, and the Northern Territory. The RAC’s have had a key function in providing advice to the FRDC on priorities and investment needs in its jurisdiction relevant to public good and for sectors not covered under Industry Partnership Agreements.

FRDC sees the RACs as being integral to linking priorities and subsequent proposed activities to end users and beneficiaries ‐ i.e., ensuring investment delivers impact.

 

The RACs, will be continuing to help deliver the FRDC R&D Plan 2020-2025 with the primary role to:

  • Act as the lead mechanism to identity, synthesise and aggregate priorities articulated by stakeholders
  • Consider avenues for delivery of R&D outputs to end users through identification of suitable extension activities
  • Assist in monitoring invested activities to aid in the delivery of outputs to end users
  • Aid in identifying potential external technical reviewers of applications – this may include RAC members with suitable expertise (and where there are no conflicts of interest)

Key changes to the RAC process include:

  • All RACs will now have competitive approaches to investment with no cap of budget allocations to ensure that investment flows to where priorities are required within and between jurisdictions (noting that FRDC is legislatively required to return the dollar provided by the jurisdiction back to the jurisdiction)
  • Existing R&D plans will be used where possible – removing the requirement for a separate RAC R&D Plan
  • Addressing the issue of conflict of interest, by removing the requirement for applications to be assessed by the RAC – rather members may nominate/be identified as an external reviewer of applications (where appropriate). This will allow a focus on prioritisation and delivery to end users
  • Processes for obtaining RD&E priorities and needs will be trialled the best way to identify stakeholder needs

RAC membership will include a mix of representation and expertise from areas such as industry, post‐harvest, research, and natural resource management, providing the committees with the necessary situational awareness. Committee members will be paid a sitting fee (unless they are a government employee without a separate ABN) for participation at RAC Meetings. Committee membership will be for a two‐year term.

The RAC membership will be constituted to incorporate broad fishing, aquaculture and community expertise (including Indigenous) areas and provide sufficient situational awareness and connectivity to end users through existing networks.

 

The FRDC will coordinate and provide management support for the committees.

The RACs will convene at least twice a year (being online or face to face), with FRDC anticipating increasing numbers of RAC meetings will be hosted on-linevia Microsoft Teams.

 

RAC Chairs

Independent Chairs will lead the RACs meetings. The FRDC will be appointing small number of common Chairs that will preside over two to three RACs each. Chairs will be paid a sitting fee. The Chair’s tenure will be for a three‐year term.

The RAC member/Chair selection process will be undertaken using a selection panel, comprising the relevant Director of Fisheries and FRDC. This is consistent with the previous RAC/FRAB process.

FRDC will look to continue to work with our stakeholders to trial and adapt processes to ensure continual improvement.

 

Open Access – Sourcing input

Over the past several years feedback from the FRDC stakeholder surveys highlighted that a number of processes, such as the RACs, were perceived to be 'closed shops' and not open to everyone. The FRDC aims to address this over via a range of mechanisms.

A number of engagement pathways will be trialled throughout the year to seek stakeholder priorities. The goal is to augment the RAC process, providing opportunities for ‘outside’ stakeholders to have input.

Stakeholder input will be collated with those put forward by committee members and the FRDC for consideration and prioritisation by the RAC. These will be used by FRDC for its funding calls.

The consideration of priorities (for example, based on expected impact, relevance, strategic alignment) and their relationship to the FRDC R&D Plan 2020-2025 will be one of the key functions of the RACs.

Approaches will be trialled and reviewed at the end of 2021 to determine if they are a useful mechanism to identify priorities from our stakeholders. If one method proves unsuccessful, we will pivot and trial alternative methods in consultation with the RAC.

 

Independent Performance Review of FRDC 

An independent review of FRDC’s partnership structures found that stakeholders considered RACs functioned well and fulfilled their purpose. However, changes to the operating environment in part brought on by COVID-19 as well as recommended process amendments highlighted by the review and a probity audit. In total, 10 recommendations were made to the FRDC. The FRDC has agreed to fully implement all 10 recommendations and these are covered in the FRDC Reponse Plan and Implementation document (link below). The report and FRDC response are available on the FRDC R&D Plan 2020-25 site.