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Overview of R&D Investments

The main elements of the R&D investment framework for 2019-20

In 2019-20, AgriFutures Australia invested in 147 new projects, of which 104 were research projects. The average AgriFutures Australia investment per research project increased from 2018-19, continuing the steady upward trend.

When deciding on which research programs to invest in, AgriFutures Australia evaluates, among other things, the likely level of industry adoption of the research outputs, together with the expected economic, environmental, and social effects of the project outputs.

The main elements of the RD&E investment framework for 2019-20:

  Continued engagement with our levied industries through an online Levied Industry Forum

  Encouraging industry uptake of innovation in more of our industries through targeted extension programs

  An annual review of performance against the RD&E Plan

  External evaluation of Export Fodder, Rice and Kangaroo Investment over the period of their respective RD&E strategies

  Establishing industry specific strategic directions for the coming year

  Preparing Annual Operational Plan (AOP) proposals with input from AgriFutures Australia’s R&D advisory panels through an annual review of progress against their RD&E strategic plans

  Setting funding allocations for 2019-20

  Aligning program strategies within portfolios against RD&E strategic plans, and allocating pre-determined budgets

  Implementing programs through a combination of open call and commissioned projects

  Developing communication strategies for all levied industry programs.

A balanced R&D portfolio

AgriFutures Australia invests its RD&E funds through new, developing, maturing and established industry programs, along with several national and cross-sectoral programs and initiatives.

Expenditure is allocated using a range of measures that ensure a balanced, financially responsible approach to its investment of both industry and core funds.
Our investments integrate the triple bottom line objectives of economic, environmental and social responsibility. The majority of investment is aligned with short-to-medium-term adaptive research outcomes and investment returns, with the remainder contributing to long-term strategic research objectives.

Our industry advisory panels provide advice as to the appropriate balance of investment between industry-specific RD&E priorities and cross-sectoral investment, including:

  Government research priorities

  Program objectives

  Project length

  Levels of risk, return and leverage.

Industry advisory panels assist in identifying and advising on specific RD&E priorities to implement the RD&E plans. Financial investment is determined by industry contribution, Australian Government where appropriate, and our own evaluation of the RD&E needs against investment priorities.

Where AgriFutures Australia is the appropriate lead agency, we manage and develop collaborative investment programs with partners. Areas that are well suited to collaborations include climate change issues, natural resource management, health, safety and welfare, capacity building and leadership.

Cost allocation policy

AgriFutures Australia has a Cost Allocation Policy for allocating direct and indirect costs across its programs. Direct research and development program costs are allocated at program level and corporate costs are allocated through a program management fee. This fee is based on a three-year rolling average of expenditure including the current year forecast and the previous two years’ actual expenditure. This is then weighted and capped at a pre-determined proportion of research expenditure to ensure the variance in effort between small and large programs is captured as accurately as possible.