RESEARCH RELEVANCE AND ACCEPTANCE
FRDC has been recognised for their leadership in developing abalone aquaculture in Australia. To ensure that this investment in R&D in partnership with the industry results in a significant abalone aquaculture industry, it is important that this partnership is maintained. FRDC has created one of the few truly national programs for developing an aquaculture species. The benefits arising from this have been significant as measured by: quality of science, industry planning of R&D, partnership approach to R&D execution, comprehensive extension program using novel media formats (e.g., interactive CD ROMs) and the high level of adoption.
The AAS has fostered a truly collaborative relationship with industry which has led to highly
commercially-focused research outputs for the Australian abalone aquaculture industry. Since its inception in 1993 the Subprogram has delivered highly focused research outputs that have responded to the changing R&D needs of the industry as it matured. The AAS has achieved this by implementing operational processes that ensure industry members themselves identify R&D needs and, through the Steering Committee, subsequently manage research projects.
The Subprogram has achieved a high degree of research coordination between states and an extensive communication strategy to ensure service delivery to the industry. The Subprogram has added value the FRDC’s research investment by managing its project portfolio in this way. None of this would have been possible without an independent Subprogram Leader and a highly responsive Steering Committee that is strongly represented by industry members across southern Australia.
RESEARCH EFFICIENCY AND OUTPUT
The presence of a coordination component within the AAS has resulted in savings in the operation of new and existing projects far exceeding $500,000 and it is likely that this trend will exist in the future. This has been achieved by improving project adoption, ensuring projects are appropriately costed, coordinated travel and workshop budgets combined with more efficient use of limited research funds. To this end, the AAS Steering Committee will continue to support a coordination project for the operation of the AAS. During the past three years, the FRDC funded an additional ten projects within the Subprogram. Of these, the AAS has delivered outcomes from 4 core projects with outcomes pending from another two core projects in June 2003. It has also delivered outcomes from four projects funded prior to the commencement of its current term. It is unlikely that this level of highly focused research and productivity would have been possible without a coordinated Subprogram.
In an external, independent review of the performance of the subprogram over the past 6-7 years, the industry strongly endorsed the FRDC in managing the subprogram. This endorsement included the selection of R&D topics of high strategic and commercial importance to industry, use of appropriate research providers and appropriate apportionment of available funds across the 12 projects. Respondents also endorsed subprogram management and research providers in the shared responsibilities of establishing and maintaining generally adequate to high standards of communication, collaboration and consultation with industry.
Keywords: Abalone, aquaculture, industry, subprogram, Haliotis rubra, Haliotis laevigata.