The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) announced funding applications are open as part of its $5 million Innovation Program 2018 which aims to support the translation of innovations and research outcomes into practical solutions for Australian grain growers.
The Program has two distinct components – one aimed at accelerating the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies, and the other aimed at supporting feasibility analysis of innovative business concepts.
Dr Steve Thomas, GRDC Deputy CEO, says it is a great opportunity for individuals and organisations to gain support to develop ideas that assist broadacre farming operations.
“Our Program is designed to foster innovation and accelerate the commercial delivery of innovative technologies to help improve the profitability of Australian grain growers,” Dr Thomas said.
“The first part of the Program, Accelerating Innovative Technologies, is open for applications now. We are encouraging people and organisations with novel technologies and ideas to apply.
“Developing Innovative Businesses is the second part of the Program which aims to support new businesses that contribute to enhanced grain grower profitability. Applications for this component will open shortly, and we will provide more information then.”
Operated as a pilot program, the GRDC wishes to test the market’s capacity to engage with and respond meaningfully to this type of initiative, as well as ensure the application and decision process works effectively and identify any future areas for improvement.
Accelerating Innovative Technologies funding round
Applications for funding under the Accelerating Innovative Technologies component of the Innovation Program 2018 are now open.
“We are looking to support the accelerated development of innovative new grains production technologies, or the innovative use of existing technologies for broadacre cropping,” Dr Thomas said.
“The Program will support activities such as the development, proof of concept, pre-commercial testing and demonstration of new and innovative technologies, which may include the novel application of existing technologies.”
Funding amounts from $40,000 upwards can be sought. While any application will be considered, priority will be given to those that address three key areas:
- Innovative engineering or chemical solutions to managing hostile soils in broadacre grains production
- Novel solutions for managing the impact of frost on broadacre grains production
- Novel non-chemical solutions to weed management and control in Australian broadacre grains production.
The GRDC will engage with its grains industry and research partners to raise awareness of the Innovation Program, but also wants to make sure that those traditionally not closely involved with agribusiness and farming are aware of the opportunity.
“Innovative ideas can come from all types of industry and organisations. This is about new ways of thinking, so we want to cast the net widely,” Dr Thomas said.
“We really encourage people to think about whether they might be able to take something from another industry and apply it in a new way to help mitigate these challenges our farmers face.
“You might have a good idea and are looking for help to develop a business case or proof of concept over a three to six-month timeframe. Or you might be seeking support to take a well-developed idea into pre-commercial testing or scale-up stages over a one to two-year project period.”
Program applications will be assessed by the GRDC via a rigorous multi-step process, conducted by teams with expertise and proven competency in the priority areas.
“We are committed to funding projects that have the greatest potential to deliver tangible value to grain growers,” Dr Thomas stated.
All applicants will have the opportunity to obtain feedback on their application.
“Getting a new idea up and running is tough, so we want to support even those who are unsuccessful with meaningful feedback on their application.”
Applications for funding under the Accelerating Innovative Technologies part of the GRDC Innovation Program 2018 close on Friday 6 April 2018 and must be made via the GRDC’s Grains Investment Portal online.