Published: 17 June 2021 Updated: 21 June 2023
Table of contents

FRDC has evolved how we invite ideas and proposals, to increase flexibility and enhance user experience. A variety of approaches are available including competitive calls for investment opportunities, select and direct tenders. 

Processes for investing in challenges and opportunities across fishing and aquaculture are not all the same, and so how we address them shouldn’t be either. The FRDC invests in a variety of activities, including traditional research projects, incubation and acceleration processes to test and develop ideas, events to connect people, activities to build capability and capacity as well as large collaborative efforts to address complex challenges. 

To achieve this, FRDC currently offer a suite of investment proposal formats for research, bursary and sponsorship. A pitch template to address innovative ideas is under development. 

Please note that the FRDC will not support/invest in:

  • Agri-political activities, or other undertakings that are not consistent with objects of the PIRD Act or FRDC’s Statutory Funding Agreement
  • Fisheries re-stocking activities
  • Fisher or enterprise level certification (such as Marine Stewardship Council certification)
  • Stock assessments and other routine fisheries monitoring activities
  • Training where other funding sources are more appropriate
  • Capital items
  • Marketing or promotion
  • Activities that have already been delivered.

Calls for Investment opportunities

The FRDC will advertise on our website and through its media platforms calls for Investment opportunities (at least twice a year) that address priorities nominated by Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreement (IPAs), Co-ordination programs or national initiatives. 

This does not preclude proposals being submitted that address non-nominated priorities but these should effectively demonstrate the need for funding support (e.g. though letters of support &/or co-investment) and alignment with the FRDC’s R&D Plan. 

How to apply

All proposals must be submitted via the FishNet portal. 


  1. Register for FishNet
  2. Open FishNet and select the new application button.
  3. Select the priority for which you are applying for and select apply. If you are not submitting against a nominated priority from the dropdown list, select other
  4. If submitting a bursary or sponsorship application, select those two types
  5. Complete the sections accordingly. Use the help file by selecting the blue question mark if you run into trouble.
  6. Once the application has been finalised, an electronic copy is automatically sent to the applicant and FRDC.
  7. FRDC will evaluate the application which will often include an external review.
  8. Based on the evaluation, the FRDC will make a recommendation to the Managing Director or FRDC Board.
  9. Advice/feedback will be sent back to the applicant regarding the decision.
  10. Any actions required from the letter provided will need to be addressed by correspondence to the FRDC. 

What happens once proposals are received? 

Once a proposal is received by the FRDC through the FishNet portal, an evaluation process begins. Proposals are matched to any nominated priorities, assigned to an FRDC Portfolio Manager, and external reviewers are identified. These external reviewers could include members from our jurisdictional Research Advisory Committees (RACs), Industry Partnership Agreements (IPAs), Coordination Programs, technical experts and/or end users. 

For applications seeking funds from the IPAs, the relevant committees will evaluate and provide recommendations for funding to the FRDC. Evaluations are no longer undertaken as part of RAC or Coordination Program meeting processes. 

Proposals are assessed on attractiveness and feasibility as per the following table in line with the FRDC’s Investment in Research and Development Policy. The Policy also outlines other elements of consideration that include risk, avoiding duplication and achieving balanced investment.




Relevance to R&D plan 

Likelihood of success 

Stakeholder support 

Well defined planned outcomes 

Likelihood of adoption 

Outputs clearly defined and linked to planned outcomes 

Value for money 

Clear objectives

Level of impact 

Sound methodology

Linkages and collaboration 

Track record of investigators 

Contribution to new knowledge 

Capacity to deliver 

Consequence of not undertaking research 



The FRDC management team collates information from these external reviews and prepares an evaluation following similar criteria outlined in the table above and makes a recommendation to either approve or reject the application. Occasionally, there are further questions or information that may be required to complete an evaluation of a proposal. On these occasions, the applicant will be provided correspondence outlining the further information required to complete the evaluation of a proposal and a due date for the revisions to be made. 

Once the evaluation is complete, the proposal is provided to the FRDC Board or senior management, such as the Managing Director, for final decision. The applicant will be notified soon after, via a decision notification email outlining the outcome of the evaluation process.


If you have any questions or issues with FishNet, please contact the FRDC by phone (02) 6122 2100 or email


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