What is the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs?

The Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs is a consortia of research providers and research users, with a regional focus, that come together to address local drought resilience research, development, extension, adoption and innovation priorities.

 

Background

The Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program – Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs will be a consortia of research providers and research users, with a regional focus. They will support networks of key stakeholders to work together, including primary producers, grower groups, industry, researchers, entrepreneurs, education institutions and governments, to plan and undertake co-designed and demand driven drought resilience RDEA&C.

The Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubswill be located in regional areas that reflect the key agricultural and climatic zones across the country. The regions targeted are:

  • Southern NSW
  • Southern QLD/Northern NSW
  • South-West WA
  • Victoria
  • Top End NT/WA
  • Tropical North Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania.

The Hubs will be multidisciplinary and inclusive ensuring that the focus of the Hubs is to support agricultural industries and communities to adapt, reorganise and transform so that they are more resilient to future droughts.

The Hubs will support networks of key stakeholders to work together, including primary producers, grower and community groups, industry, researchers, entrepreneurs, education institutions and governments to:

  • provide extension, adoption and commercialisation support
  • plan co-designed and demand driven drought resilience research, development, extension, adoption and commercialisation (RDEA&C).

 

Objectives

Funding for the Hubs through this grant opportunity is not focused on doing additional fundamental research. However, Hubs are expected to play a role in influencing and informing research investment and effort to ensure it is relevant, useful and used. Hubs and individual Hub members will be able to apply for the program’s Innovation Grants to support investment in new research.

Each Hub will:

  • develop and implement drought resilience RDEA&C strategies building on identified strengths and innovation potential for the region
  • conduct and/or plan co-designed, collaborative and demand driven RDEA&C  support participating farmers, supply chain small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and community groups to improve their drought resilience capability, increase productivity and create jobs, through the adoption and commercialisation of research and knowledge
  • support and strengthen networks and drive collaborative arrangements across their regions
  • liaise with other Hubs and the department:
    • about planned activities and RDEA&C outputs, including to collaborate and identify opportunities to synthesise research
    • to provide input into the development of the RDEA&C investment and implementation priorities for the program in future years.
  • liaise with the department (and other Hubs) in preparation for the Science to Practice Innovation Forum
  • present at the annual Science to Practice Innovation Forum.

It will be a requirement of each Hub to develop a detailed work-plan that is co-designed as its first milestone. This will be reviewed annually.

 

Funding

The total funding available under this grant opportunity is $64 million (GST exclusive) to support eight Hubs and their activities through to June 2024. Each Hub can receive up to $2 million per year (GST exclusive).

 

Eligible Projects

Project activities include:

  • support for the operation of the Hub
  • to provide a ‘shopfront’ for research, development, extension, adoption and commercialisation support, enabling farmers, supply chain small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and community groups to share information and resources, and test and access innovative ideas, techniques and technology
  • support participating farmers, supply chain SMEs and community groups across the region to work together
  • develop and implement a drought resilience innovation strategy
  • assisting farmers, supply chain SMEs and community groups improve their capabilities, and create jobs, for example:
    • developing and delivering workshops, training, seminars and other events
    • providing intelligence about drought resilience opportunities and challenges to researchers
    • knowledge brokering to help decision-makers define the questions they need answered by science, then help to translate the science into practice
  • communication, knowledge capture and synthesis for regional priorities, extension and adoption
  • monitoring and evaluation, including reporting on key indicators and metrics that measure drought resilience trends in their respective region.

Hubs may also consider piloting programs – for example the following activities that are consistent with the Funding Plan (that is, will deliver public good):

  • funding competitive post-graduate scholarships to cover project costs for students that have been awarded an Australian Government Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship based on the drought resilience public good benefits and transformational potential of the project
  • funding merit-based scholarships to support targeted inquiry by primary producers on innovation and international best practice in drought resilience. The outcomes from these scholarships could include reports, drought resilience champions and sharing good practices with case studies and presentations
  • funding drought resilience innovation awards to share good practice through case studies and presentations
  • funding commercialisation grants to target the priority themes of the Hub’s strategies and the Research and Adoption Program’s Investment Plan. The commercialisation grants could improve researcher and entrepreneur’s access to education and training and incubator and accelerator services. The Hub could also facilitate researchers and entrepreneur’s access to other programs, including the Business Research and Innovation Initiative, by providing information about these opportunities.

Grant funds must o