RD&E capability audit and assessment for the Australian fishing and aquaculture industry 2013

Project Number:



RDS Partners Pty Ltd

Principal Investigator:

Tom Lewis

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





This proposal is a response to an request by the FRDC to RDS Partners to undertake a current (2013) RD&E capability audit for the Australian Fishing and Aquaculture Industry, following the successful completion of the initial RD&E capability audit in 2009. The final report to FRDC from the RD&E capability audit 2009 provided an analysis of the research, development and extension (RD&E) effort supporting Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture industries in the latter quarter of 2009 and supported the development of Working Together: The National Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy. Since the release of - and in response to - Working Together: The National Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy, it is our understanding that significant changes have occurred in national RD&E capability. The advent of: the ARC Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) for Australian universities; Major-Support-Link Research Provider concept; National Research Providers Network (NRPN) and NRPN Hubs; and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Extension and Adoption Working Group, is likely to have seen restructuring of Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E capability at a national, State and institutional level. Updating the RD&E capability audit for 2013 will provide a direct comparison with the capability status in 2009, allowing a current understanding of RD&E capability, capacity and future demand. Australian agencies investing in RD&E need to understand current RD&E capability and capacity and future demand, in order to to plan for and deliver effective and efficient services to the Fishing and Aquaculture industry.


1. To audit and assess the existing RD&E capability in the field of fisheries and aquaculture, and their aquatic ecology and biodiversity, within a national context

2. To identify change from 2009 in RD&E capability in the fields of fisheries and aquaculture, within: capability area; area of expertise; infrastructure; and investment – and within a regional context

3. To assess criteria (e.g. demonstration of ability, commitment & obligation) for Major, Support and Link research providers

Final report - 2013-410-DLD - RD&E capability audit and assessment for the Australian Fishing and Aquaculture Industry 2013

Final Report
ISSN:ISBN 978-0-9872175-5-4
Date Published:September 2014

Principal investigator: Tom Lewis

Key words: RD&E, capability, audit, assessment

Summary: The first RD&E capability audit and assessment for the Australian Fishing and Aquaculture Industry was conducted in 2009 by RDS Partners (then Rural Development Services). The final report for that project supported the development of the publication "Working Together: The National Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy" (the Strategy).
The Strategy establishes both a regional approach and a national approach based on areas of expertise or functional activity, in order to achieve efficiencies and progress the implementation of the Major-Support-Link approach outlined in the National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Framework (the Framework). The Framework is designed to encourage greater collaboration and promote continuous improvement in the investment of RD&E resources nationally.
Since the release of the Strategy, the FRDC and the Strategy Governance Committee considered that significant changes have occurred in national RD&E capability, especially within State Government agencies. The FRDC therefore commissioned RDS Partners to repeat the RD&E capability audit in 2013, to provide Australia’s agencies investing in RD&E an understanding of current RD&E capability and capacity and future demand.
As in the 2009 RD&E capability audit, data were collected through voluntary return, and one-to-one follow-up, of a spreadsheet-based survey tool designed to elicit information regarding:
- full time equivalent (FTE) capability across 45 areas of expertise at the research scientist, specialist technician and extension professional level
- value and location of infrastructure and major capital items
- investment against the areas of Legislative1 Requirements; Fisheries; Aquaculture; and Associated Environment and Ecosystems for the past 4 financial years.
Of the 108 organisations or individuals invited to participate in the 2013 capability audit, 56 provided a response and 51 of these provided capability information.
Thirty two organisations responded to both the 2009 and the 2013 capability audits. To allow better comparisons between the 2009 and 2013 audits, the main focus of this report is on data provided by these organisations.