The FRDC will invest in RD&E using the following three investment approaches: lead, collaborate and partner.

Section 5


The FRDC will lead RD&E prioritisation and investment in three national priority areas, as well as areas of national RD&E infrastructure (including subprograms and coordination programs).


The FRDC will provide a vehicle so that sectors or jurisdictions may leverage funding where there is alignment between their RD&E priorities and those at the national level. This will encourage sectors to collaborate.

Collaboration in specific areas of RD&E such as people development, service functions and social sciences will be actively encouraged by the FRDC.


The FRDC will enter into partnership agreements with specific sectors and jurisdictions to jointly develop and implement their RD&E priorities. These agreements will set out guidelines, timelines and evaluation processes, from funding applications to the adoption of RD&E outputs. This will help link sector-based or jurisdictional plans with the FRDC RD&E Plan, and ensure they incorporate the objects of the PIRD Act (see page 8). Further information on partnership agreements is in the FRDC's investment-framework policy available on the FRDC website.

Funding for these activities will combine financial contributions from the relevant sector or jurisdiction, coupled with funding from the Australian Government's matching contribution.


FRDC's RD&E program areas

The FRDC has five programs of RD&E investment that directly align with its governing legislation, the PIRD Act:

Program 1: Environment

 This program relates to RD&E that supports natural resource sustainability in managing fishing and aquaculture activities in Commonwealth, state and territory waters. Many components of FRDC-funded RD&E focus on improving the sustainable use of Australia’s aquatic resources.

Program 2: Industry

This program relates to RD&E that assists the production and value of seafood. It could be in the form of business profitability, international competitiveness, opportunities for productivity increases, resource access, and experience or wellbeing benefits. This program aims to help all sectors improve their overall performance.

Program 3: Communities

This program relates to RD&E that maintains the long-term sustainability of the commercial sector by understanding the interactions and co-dependence between fishing and aquaculture, and the wider community. It is enhanced by knowledge about the social importance of fisheries. 

Program 4: People

This program relates to RD&E that is needed to attract and advance people who will lead fishing and aquaculture towards a sustainable and profitable future. The FRDC has taken a strong role in this area, from employing and developing young researchers, through to facilitating access to leadership development for all sectors of fishing and aquaculture.

Program 5: Adoption

This program relates to how project outputs are delivered so they can be easily adopted and support stakeholder decision making and practices. The FRDC continually works with researchers and end users to determine and implement the best way of extending these results. In addition, the FRDC is continuing to develop its systems to ensure its ‘knowledge bank’ is widely accessible.

A balanced research portfolio

The FRDC's investment in RD&E is driven by the needs of its stakeholders. This RD&E Plan aims to deliver against the strategic national priorities and be more targeted in three major areas:

  1. Ensuring that Australian fishing and aquaculture products are sustainable and acknowledged to be so.
  2. Improving productivity and profitability of fishing and aquaculture.
  3. Developing new and emerging aquaculture growth opportunities.

Sectors and jurisdictions will lead in the development of their own RD&E priorities which must be consistent with FRDC's program areas.

FRDC's RD&E portfolio incorporates projects that address issues of national importance for government, levy payers and other fishing and aquaculture stakeholders. The FRDC works to achieve an overall balance of:

  • short- and long-term projects
  • low- and high-risk projects
  • strategic and adaptive research needs
  • regional variations and needs
  • ·national, jurisdictional and sector-focused projects.


Extension and adoption of research

Extension and adoption processes are embedded into all FRDC-funded RD&E.

How results can be extended begin when a project is approved for funding, are considered in the design and proposal phase where priorities for end users are determined, continue during the project's execution through to the final published report. This is often easier for short-term applied research but needs to be more considered for longer-term, blue-sky research.

The project management process the FRDC follows ensures that results are delivered in a timely manner, and extension and adoption processes are conducted within projects.



Applying for funding

The FRDC investment-framework policy details the principles of FRDC's RD&E investments. More information about the policy and how to apply for funding can be found on the FRDC website (