Rural R&D for Profit Programme

Up to $180M is available to support Rural R&D corporations (RDCs) strategic research that delivers real outcomes for Australian producers.

Rural R&D for Profit Programme

Rural R&D for Profit Programme

The Rural R&D for Profit Programme is a competitive grants programme providing grants to rural research and development corporations (RDCs) for collaborative research which enhances farm‐gate profitability and supports the continued innovation of Australia’s primary industries.



The Rural R&D for Profit Programme began in 2014‐2015 as a four year programme with funding of $100 million. As part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper the Government committed to expand the programme. The total programme value is $190.5 million over eight years. The programme will conclude on 30 June 2022. The programme funds research which focuses on delivering cutting edge technologies and making research accessible for primary producers, while better leveraging coordination and cooperation between stakeholders

The Rural R&D for Profit Programme is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department). Under the programme, grants are available to the RDCs, as established national R&D funding bodies, to provide national industry benefits as well as benefits to the wider community. The Financial Framework (Supplementary Powers) Regulations 1997 provide legislative authority for expenditure under this programme.



The objective of the programme is to realise significant productivity and profitability improvements for primary producers, through:

  • generating knowledge, technologies, products or processes that benefit primary producers
  • strengthening pathways to extend the results of rural R&D, including understanding the barriers to adoption
  • establishing and fostering industry and research collaborations that form the basis for ongoing innovation and growth of Australian agriculture.


Programme Priorities

Through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the government has developed a set of clear, farmer‐oriented priorities to target rural RD&E funding.

Applications must address one or more of the following programme priorities:

  • Advanced Technology, to enhance innovation of products, processes and practices across the food and fibre supply chains through technologies such as robotics, digitisation, big data, genetics and precision agriculture
    • For example, RD&E relating to sensors, GPS technology, drones, data utilisation, software tools, autonomous systems, or developing new or improved products
    • By applying advanced technology, including technologies from other industries, the project should help primary producers increase yields, reduce costs, manage risks, benchmark performance and/or exploit opportunities in the supply chain or markets to increase returns.
  • Biosecurity, to improve understanding and evidence of pest and disease pathways to help direct biosecurity resources to their best uses, minimising biosecurity threats and improving market access for primary producers.
    • For example, RD&E relating to surveillance systems, diagnostics, pre‐ and post‐harvest controls, disinfestation treatments, data management and interpretation or sterile insect technology
    • By improving biosecurity measures the project should help primary producers reduce costs, increase productivity and competitiveness, and help industries manage risks or gain, maintain or regain market access
  • Soil, water and managing natural resources to manage soil health, improve water use efficiency and certainty of supply, sustainably develop new production areas and improve resilience to climate events and impacts.
    • For example, RD&E relating to integrated management practices at a farm or regional level, nutrient use efficiency, managing soil and water efficiency and constraints, managing soil carbon, or weed and/or pest animal management.
    • The project should help producers improve soil, water and natural resource management practices for productivity, long‐term use and profit, and improved environmental outcomes.
  • Adoption of R&D, focusing on flexible delivery of extension services that meet primary producers’ needs and recognising the growing role of private service delivery.
    • For example, RD&E relating to extension delivery options and infrastructure, reducing barriers to adoption, improving private sector extension services or innovative means for co‐ordinated delivery of extension services.
    • The project should facilitate producer adoption of new technological innovations and research and development outcomes to increase productivity growth and profitability. This priority is not intended to replace state or privately provided extension services.

Adoption of research outputs is key to the success of the programme. The applicants must consider how primary producers will use the outcomes and must build pathways to adoption or benefit into projects.



The Australian Government has allocated a total of up to $180.5 million over eight years to 30 June 2022 for the Rural R&D for Profit program. Grant funding of almost $114.7 million has been awarded to date for 36 projects.


Eligible Projects

To be eligible, a project application must meet each of the requirements

Requirement 1.  Programme priorities: the application and the research and development to be undertaken in the project must address one or more of the programme priorities

Requirement 2.  Partnership: the applicant must partner with one or more researchers, research agencies, RDCs, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups or not‐for‐profit organisations.

Requirement 3.  Co‐investment: the applicant and partner organisations must contribute to the project as follows:

  • The requested Commonwealth grant must not exceed 50 per cent of the total project cost (grant, cash and in‐kind contribution).
  • The applicant and/or partners must contribute cash to the project. The cash contributions must be equal to at least 50 per cent of the amount of the Commonwealth grant.
  • In‐kind contributions will be accepted subject to compliance with eligibility criteria 3.a and 3.b above. In‐kind costs must be specified and justified within the context of the project.
  • The applicant must have written confirmation of each project partner(s) contribution to the project.

Requirement 4.  Pathways to adoption: the application must outline pathways to adoption and/or benefit by primary producers of the outcomes of the project.


Eligible Applicants

Only the 15 rural RDCs are eligible to apply for funding under the programme. The RDCs are:

  • Australian Egg Corporation Limited
  • Australian Grape and Wine Authority
  • Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited
  • Australian Meat Processor Corporation Limited
  • Australian Pork Limited
  • Australian Wool Innovation Limited
  • Cotton Research and Development Corporation
  • Dairy Australia Limited
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited
  • Meat & Livestock Australia Limited
  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • Sugar Research Australia Limited

RDCs must partner with one or more researchers, research agencies, RDCs, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups or not‐for‐profit organisations. Partners may be international organisations, however grant funding must expect to achieve demonstrable benefits for Australian primary industries.

Where two or more RDCs seek a grant as a consortium, one RDC member of the consortium must be appointed as the applicant. The applicant will submit the application and be the legal entity that, if successful, enters into a grant agreement with the department.

The applicant must have the agreement of the other project partner(s) to submit the application, including agreement to partners’ roles and responsibilities and any confirmed cash and/or in‐kind contributions committed to the project. Project partners will be treated as subcontractors for the purposes of the grant agreement.



Applications close 5 November 2018.


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