Published: 21 June 2021 Updated: 20 March 2024
Table of contents

The FRDC board establishes Coordination Programs to address areas of R&D that require coordinated strategic planning and delivery in areas of market failure. Coordination Programs do not have allocated FRDC budgets, but function to highlight priority areas of R&D investment that need to be addressed through normal FRDC funding processes.

Coordination Program management

The HDR Coordination Program is responsible for setting R&D priorities to maximise investment in the field of human dimensions research, with a focus on social, economic and cultural factors and the people, markets, institutions and behaviours these affect.

The HDR does this by:

  • Undertaking strategic planning and prioritisation of R&D that takes into account priorities of FRDC structures (e.g. Research Advisory Committees, Industry Partners)
  • Identifying opportunities for beneficial collaboration between researchers, managers and seafood industry interests
  • Promoting the best scientific methods
  • Communicating regularly on Coordination Program activities through existing networks and with potential beneficiaries.

The HDR Coordination Program is managed by an expertise-based steering and scientific committee, appointed by the FRDC.

Research priorities

The FRDC Research and Development Plan 2021-2025, and associated roadmaps, provide a framework to identify key strategic research needs of stakeholders.

Priority development by the HDR Coordination Program is focused on best use of human dimensions research methods to deliver the R&D Plan Outcomes. These include:

  • Behavioural and social research insights to better work with individuals, organisations and markets for building trust and for change
  • Economic research into how seafood markets work and how performance can be approved
  • Impact and intervention research to understand what l options for change exist and how these affect value, growth and fairness across the Australian seafood community.


  • Dr Renae Tobin (Independent consultant)
  • Dr Julian Morison (Independent consultant)
  • Dr Stephanie McWhinnie (University of Adelaide)
  • Dr Alec Zuo (University of Adelaide)
  • Bryan McDonald (Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Northern Territory Government)
  • Dr Nikki Mazur (Independent consultant)
  • Professor Swee-Hoon Chuah (University of Tasmania)

Human Dimensions Research contact

FRDC management contact

Sally Roberts - FRDC Capability, Capacity & Culture Change Manager (M: 0407 186 433)


Additional information

Impacts of COVID-19

A report by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and funded by the FRDC analysed how COVID-19 affected the seafood industry in Australia between January and June 2020, with the aim of using this knowledge to prepare the sector for future shocks. Further assessment work is planned to look at medium-term impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian seafood community more widely, and examples of crisis response and resilience.

Community Trust in Rural Industries

FRDC is a partner in The Community Trust in Rural Industries Program (2019-042), which is a collaborative partnership involving 10 Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) and NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) to build the capacity of food and fibre industries to productively engage with the community. This is a capacity building initiative to drive a productive and cohesive response to changes in cross-sector community trust.

More information about the program is available on the Building Community Trust page and on the Agrifutures website. Project findings to date are summarised in this summary and this infographic or on the 2019-042 project page.

Webinars explaining these insights are available for:

Engagement for success – what does effective community engagement look like?

This project (2019-074) addresses the need to ensure that engagement activities and strategies undertaken by seafood industry organisations and operators are effective at building community trust and acceptance. This project is doing this by documenting a range of community engagement strategies and activities and evaluating these against the community trust and acceptance goals of those organisations and operators. The FRDC 2018-201 Community Engagement Strategy Evaluation Framework is being used to guide evaluation.

Tools for Community Engaging

The Engagement for Success project will be sharing stories of successful engagement soon - watch this space! The project is piloting and demonstrating the evaluation framework developed as part of a linked FRDC project (2018-210). A digital toolkit has been developed to step seafood industry organisations and operators through this framework to track the success or otherwise of their community engagement strategies. The framework and digital toolkit are also hosted by OceanWatch as a resource for the Australian seafood industry.

Improving economic performance: demand and productivity

Two projects focus on knowledge gaps in supporting growth for enduring prosperity of Australia commercial fisheries. The first project - Demand Conditions and Dynamics in the SESSF (2018-017) - analysed the interrelationship between fish prices on the Sydney and Melbourne fish markets (that is, the market effects when prices vary with quantity landed). In addition, the study derived empirical estimates of the own and cross-price flexibilities for the main species on the Sydney Fish Market. The project has also produced a summary to explain how demand analysis can help improve fisheries and aquaculture performance.

The project Measuring, Interpreting and Monitoring Economic Productivity in Commercial Fisheries (2019-026) is underway. Case studies are being used to highlight and compare how economic productivity can be considered with different levels of data availability.

Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Economic and Social Contributions 2017/18

Estimates of the economic contribution of the Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture industry to the Australian economy for 2017/18 are presented here.

A summary of these economic contributions, as well as the broader contributions to the wellbeing of communities in regional Australia shown in other studies, is presented here.

These reports form part of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Contributions Study (2017-210). This study lays the groundwork for the Australian seafood industry to celebrate and monitor its economic and other contributions and to showcase evidence of these to its communities and to Australians in general.

Related projects