Funding boost for rural R&D

James Riley
Editorial Director

Previously funded projects under the Commonwealth’s Rural R&D for Profit program get the chance at follow-on funding as part of round four of the grant program.

The government has announced a further $35 million would be handed out to projects that focus on advanced tech like robotics and big data, bio security, adoption of R&D and soil and water, and managing natural resources for farmers, fishers and foresters.

Research Development Corporations (RDCs) are eligible to apply for the funding on the condition they partner with one or more researchers, research agencies, RDCs, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups or not-for-profit organisations.

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To date, a total of $114.7 million of federal government funding has been awarded to 36 projects, with government expecting a total program value of $180.5 million by 2022, when it concludes.

Michael Beer, research and innovation general manager of AgriFutures Australia, one of the 15 RDCs participating in the program, said the institution would continue to work with the industries it represents to encourage applications for the new funding round.

“Digital technologies are key to preparing for this future and AgriFutures Australia has an important role to play in driving innovation for our rural industries,” he said.

“By investing in new technologies, partnerships and leadership opportunities we can ensure the people and communities we represent are ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

“Where there is opportunity to progress projects beyond the research phase we will consider applications for further funding as part of the new Rural R&D for Profit program funding round in consultation with project partners,” he said.

“We strive to maximise the uptake and benefits flowing from research investment in rural industries, and to influence the development of intellectual property and commercialisation to ensure rural industries are the primary beneficiaries of AgriFutures Australia funded research.”

Other RDCs that have received funding under the grant include Meat and Livestock Australia, Dairy Australia, and Wine Australia.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said it would be the first time the program to consider applications to fund the second phase of previously funded projects.

“I want to build on the success of the program and this could include further funding for research towards commercialising a product or service and get it in the hands of farmers,” he said.

“We have targeted this work to advanced technology, biosecurity, managing natural resources and adoption of R&D.”

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