Australia has a strong history of investing in Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) to improve agricultural productivity. As global investment declines in real terms, it becomes even more important that every available dollar drives projects that are relevant, targeted, effective and accountable to funders.
The funding profile is also increasingly complex, with multiple investors and research providers – spanning on-farm and off-farm RD&E – and an emphasis on commercialisation of research outcomes.
The RDC funding model for RD&E succeeds because it allows expensive, specialist and time-consuming projects to be commissioned and managed at a scale beyond the capacity of most individual agricultural enterprises, and – in some cases – even entire industries.
RDCs systematically facilitate innovation, minimise investment risk and maximise
end-user benefit. Investment in individual projects is determined against value for money and the potential of alternative investment sources.
This unique model is 25 years old, the envy of the world, and has delivered significant benefits to thousands of farmers.
It continues to evolve and improve to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the allocation of finite RD&E funds.