Just as a house requires solid foundations, this plan has ‘foundational enablers’ that support GRDC to deliver on purpose. While difficult to quantify impact in their own right, without them GRDC cannot achieve the ambitious research outcomes that growers and industry seek through the broader research development and extension (RD&E) investment portfolio.
These four enablers support the effective delivery of RD&E and outline our intent and principles for investment in each area. Recognising their critical importance to the plan’s success and a need to continually evolve, GRDC will engage across industry to develop an implementation plan for investment in these enablers that will capture existing and new approaches required across the life of the RD&E plan.
Knowledge transfer and adoption
Someone must ultimately do something new or different to realise the impact from grains RD&E investment. This requires an awareness, motivation and ability to implement new knowledge, technology or practices to overcome the problems we face or take advantage of the opportunities that arise. New tools and technologies must be developed into practical products or solutions and adopted by growers and industry to generate a return on investment.
The Australian extension and commercialisation landscape continues to evolve and GRDC’s approach must do the same. The ways in which growers engage with and consume information have changed significantly over the past decade. In today’s world, the private sector plays a critical role in the realisation of benefit from research outcomes through both the provision of advice to growers and the development and supply of products and services.
GRDC plays a part in facilitating adoption through the communication and extension of research and development outcomes, with the aim of ensuring growers and industry are aware of and have ready access to the information they need.
Under this plan, GRDC will review existing communication and extension approaches to develop a life-of plan strategy for investment in this enabler.
Global best practice methods, new approaches and cross sectoral initiatives that support development of required capacity and ability will be deployed to increase awareness of R&D outputs, and speed and scale of knowledge transfer and adoption.
GRDC will continue to work with public and private partners to ensure the most efficient and appropriate pathways are used to bring new expertise and solutions into the hands of growers.
Wherever possible, RD&E investment design and implementation will involve participatory principles to accelerate the speed and extent of adoption and ensure solutions meet the needs of those who will use them. Channels for delivery and key messages need to be strategically matched to the needs of the next user as well as key influencers of adoption. The value proposition of adopting research outcomes must be clearly articulated and consider both financial and non-financial barriers and drivers.
Capacity and ability
The grains industry needs access to highly capable people and critical research infrastructure when and where required. While core capability will always reside in Australia, GRDC aims to access the best, people and technologies from across the globe, including from other industries, such as space, mining and medicine. Collectively, the grains industry requires an efficient workforce that can adapt to changing priorities and a pipeline of talent to address generational change.
GRDC will develop and implement a life-of-plan strategy aimed to support partners to attract and nurture the talent required to deliver world-class grains RD&E; support leadership and pathways to innovate, translate and adopt; and facilitate access to critical infrastructure and technologies.
GRDC aims to foster an environment that supports diversity and innovation, connecting people and providing time and space to be creative. This includes partnering with First Nations peoples together with other RDCs to conduct RD&E on issues that are important to all Australians with a deep connection to country.
But this is not GRDC’s responsibility alone. Ensuring the sector has the required science, extension and commercialisation expertise is a responsibility that GRDC shares with our research partners and industry stakeholders across the grains RD&E landscape. It requires foresight around the capacity and ability available now and what the sector will need in the future to meet the immediate and long-term RD&E needs of the grains industry.
Emerging industry professionals should want to enter and stay in the grains industry. Together with research partners, GRDC is committed to exploring new approaches to better connect the RD&E community to ensure leadership and pathways to inform RD&E priorities, identify innovative solutions, and support the efficient and effective translation of grains research.
Data and insights
Data-driven agriculture is set to deliver transformational change across the grains industry and grains RD&E is no exception. GRDC and our research partners collect and store significant amounts of data as part of research projects. Combining rapidly expanding data resources with state-of the-art analytics and the power of artificial intelligence could deliver significant gains for the grains industry.
GRDC’s investment in this area aims to maximise the use of data to create valuable insights that inform growers and industry; improve the speed, accuracy and efficiency of RD&E; and track and measure the impact of investment.
Investment by GRDC is guided by the FAIR principles, to ensure data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. GRDC aims to ensure that valuable data assets, and data important to industry is identified and made findable, its meaning understood, and it can be reused, shared and integrated. GRDC also aims to work with partners to couple data with analytics to improve the quality and accuracy of research and reveal insights not previously possible.
GRDC is reliant upon strong partnerships to deliver the innovation Australian grain growers expect as part of the RD&E plan. Collaborating, partnering, and working together effectively with private and public sector organisations is critical to the plan’s success.
In implementing this plan, GRDC will actively seek out novel ways to identify and partner with the best to help foster innovation, push the boundaries of science, and develop novel solutions faster.
Where previous approaches have failed or the specific solution unknown, a challenge focus that articulates the problem or opportunity and targeted outcomes may encourage new thinking and investment to solve some of our most intractable problems.
Open and challenge-based innovation programs, cross sectoral initiatives, accelerator programs, as well as equity investment vehicles and strategic partnerships will continue to complement more traditional procurement* approaches used by GRDC over the life of the plan. Longer-term partnerships and collaborations involving diverse participants and facilitating co-design principles will also be explored as catalysts for innovation.
* Procurement of RD&E aligned to the Commonwealth procurement rules and always considers value for money.