Back to FISH Vol 29 2
PUBLISHED 1 Jun 2021

Revamped advisory committees have broadened their membership while tightening their focus on outcomes for end users

The FRDC’s new Research and Development Plan 2020-2025 has set the direction for the organisation’s research activities over the next five years. The FRDC has also revamped its Research Advisory Committees (RACs) to make them better fit for purpose with the organisation’s new long-term goals.


The FRDC’s general manager of research, development and investment Crispian Ashby says in the future the RACs will focus on setting priorities rather than assessing applications.


“We found that a lot of time was spent on applications and not enough time spent on priorities, and we really wanted to flip that around to focus on the need and who the end users are and how to deliver the information to get the best impact.”


While applications will no longer be reviewed by the RACs themselves, RAC members will still be able to review applications as part of a separate process. This is expected to reduce any committee-specific conflict of interest that might arise.


While there will still be eight RACs – one for each fisheries jurisdiction including the Commonwealth – the FRDC has halved the number of chairs that oversee the RACs, meaning each new chair will oversee two RACs.


Ashby says this aims to further improve linkages between jurisdictions and use or address any interconnections that might exist. The types of members who sit on RACs has also been expanded from purely expertise-based individuals to include representatives of industry or sectors, to enhance the RACs’ focus on the end users of research.


Earlier in the year, the FRDC put out a call for the new chair positions and these have now been filled.

The role of RACs

  • The FRDC’s Research Advisory Committees (RACs):
  • act as the lead mechanism to identify, 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; and
  • 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).

New RAC appointments



James Findlay (chair),

Sian Breen,

Andrew Gosbell,

Jessica Hoey,

Stephen Murphy,

Samuel Pagano,

Jan Strugnell

New South Wales

James Findlay (chair),

Patricia Beatty,

Troy Billin,

Leslie Duncan,

Natalie Moltschaniwskyj,

Ana Rubio,

Bruce Schumacher,

Peter Turnell

Western Australia

Brett McCallum (chair),

Justine Arnold,

Leyland Campbell,

Steven Davies,

Dan Gaughan,

Heidi Mippy,

Matt Pember,

Linda Williams

South Australia

Brett McCallum (chair),

Gavin Begg,

Neil MacDonald,

Delahay Miller,

Mike Steer,

Lee Van Soest



Heidi Mumme (chair),

Molly Christensen,

Bryan Denny,

Jen Fry,

Jane Gallichan,

Caleb Gardner,

Grant Pullen


Heidi Mumme (chair),

Dallas D’Silva,

Mark Gervis,

Rohan Henry,

Braeden Lampard,

Josiah Pit



Northern Territory

Cathy Dichmont (chair),

Nicole Anderson,

David Ciaravolo,

Steven Matthews,

Michael O’Brien,

Matt Osborne




Cathy Dichmont (chair),

Patrick Caleo,

George Day

Alistair Hobday,

Adam Martin,
David Smith,
Andrew Sullivan


More information

Chris Izzo,

Nicole Stubing,

Alison Connelly,