Rural Research and Development for Profit questions and answers

For further information on any of the following questions, please refer to the Rural Research & Development for Profit programme guidelines available at Rural Research and Development for Profit, call +61 2 6272 5603 or email Rural Research.

These questions and answers will be updated as further questions are raised by potential applicants and/or partner organisations so please check back regularly.

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1. How much funding is available for the Rural R&D for Profit grants programme?

The Australian Government, through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (‘the department’), is providing $190.5 million over eight financial years, from 2014-15 to 2021-22. Up to $30 million (GST inclusive) will be allocated in round three. Projects may run over multiple years, generally up to five years.

2. Who is eligible to apply for funding?

Only the 15 rural research and development corporations (RDCs) are eligible to apply for a grant under this programme.

There are 15 rural research and development corporations (RDCs) covering the agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries. The RDCs are a vehicle for collaboration between government and industry to collectively fund - through levies on production and Commonwealth funding - vital R&D that would not otherwise be undertaken. The RDCs bring industry, government and research interests together to establish R&D strategic directions and to fund projects that provide industry with the innovation and productivity tools necessary to compete in global markets.

To participate in the programme, the lead RDCs are required to partner with one or more researchers, research agencies, RDCs, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups or not-for-profit organisations. If you are interested in partnering with an RDC we recommend that you contact them; links to all 15 RDCs are available at the Council of Rural Research & Development Corporations website.

An RDC can apply for more than one grant under the programme. The programme also encourages RDCs to collaborate with each other. However, one RDC must be the applicant and, if successful, enter into a grant agreement with the Australian Government.

3. What are the co-contribution requirements?

In-kind contributions will be accepted as part of the applicant/partner contributions. The requested Commonwealth grant should not exceed 50 per cent of the total project cost (grant, cash and in-kind contribution). The applicant and partners must contribute cash to the project. The cash contributions must be equal to at least 50 per cent of the Commonwealth grant.

See the Rural Research and Development for Profit programme guidelines for details.

What can be included as an in-kind contribution?

Without limiting the range of items to be considered, in-kind contributions comprise goods and services that are directly attributable to the project, such as laboratory facilities, staffing and professional services. In-kind contributions must be specified, justified and reasonable within the context of the proposed project.

Do staff salaries count as part of the cash contribution, or are they considered to be in-kind contributions?

Staff salaries cannot be considered as part of the cash contribution. Staff salaries may be included as part of the in-kind contribution, provided that the costs are justified within the context of the proposed project.

If my organisation collaborates in a project, do we have to make a financial contribution?

Applicants and/or their partners must collectively provide a cash contribution equal to at least 50 per cent of the amount of the Commonwealth grant. This is designed to make the most of the government’s funding and to maximise the potential from the collaboration. See the Rural R&D for Profit programme guidelines for details. Arrangements for particular partners should be discussed with the applicant RDC.

4. Our organisation has an idea for a project. What can we do to access the Rural R&D for Profit programme funding?

The funding will be paid as grants to the RDCs. The RDCs are organised mostly by commodities such as cotton and meat, however they commission a wide range of research across genetics, water efficiency and robotics, to name but a few.

We recommend that you:

5. Our organisation is from an entirely different sector, unrelated to agriculture, fisheries or forestry. Why should we be interested in this programme?

While the Rural R&D for Profit programme aims to boost productivity and profitability for primary producers, your business doesn’t need to be directly involved in these sectors. We want industry, researchers and private organisations to think outside the box and form new collaborations.

Collaborating with the RDCs could bring your ideas, products and services to new sectors and help to make Australian industries more innovative. Adapting research from other industries and/or sectors could facilitate significant productivity gains for Australia’s primary industries.

This programme aims to foster research collaborations that form the basis for ongoing innovation and growth of Australian agriculture. To be eligible for funding, RDCs are required to partner with one or more researchers, research agencies, RDCs, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups or not-for-profit organisations. If working in partnership with an RDC is of interest, we suggest that you make contact with them – links to all the 15 RDCs are available at the Council of Rural Research & Development Corporations website.

6. Can we use money from another grant as the financial contribution?

No. Projects that duplicate or replicate activities for which the applicant or a project partner is already receiving, or has previously received, funding from the Commonwealth or from another source (e.g. a state or local government or private sector programme) are ineligible for funding. In addition any money, including from grants, expended prior to a grant agreement being signed for a Rural R&D for Profit programme project cannot be counted as part of a contribution under this programme.

7. When can the project start?

If your application is approved, the project activities can commence once a grant agreement is signed between the RDC and the Australian Government. It is expected this will be in April 2017.

8. Is there a time limit on the project?

Projects may run over multiple years but projects will generally not be funded for longer than five years. All activities funded by the programme must be completed and reported on by the time the programme concludes in June 2022. However, projects could continue after this date, if funded by the RDC and/or partners.

9. Where can I get an application form?

An application form can be downloaded from the Rural R&D for Profit website or obtained by contacting the department via email at Rural Research or by phone 02 6272 5603. Applications must be submitted via email to Rural Research. Please note that applications may only be lodged by one of the 15 RDCs.

10. When will I find out if my application has been successful?

The department expects that an announcement on successful applications will be made around March 2017.

11. If my organisation makes a financial contribution, will we be eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive?

We recommend you seek financial advice and/or advice from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to determine your eligibility to receive the tax incentive for expenditures related to your project.

12. Who owns the Intellectual Property ('IP')? Is it the applicant, the department or the partners?

The department will follow the Intellectual Property Principles for Australian Government agencies in managing intellectual property created by the project. In general:

  • The applicant RDC/grantee should endeavor to ensure that project outputs are made publicly available so that the benefits of the project can be delivered to Australian rural industries.
  • The owner(s) of project IP may apply for IP protection, however this should not unduly delay public dissemination of the project outputs.
  • IP protection and commercialisation activities are not a part of the project and the grant funds should not be used to meet any costs associated with IP protection or commercialisation.

13. Can grant project funding be used for staff salaries?

Grant funding can be used for staff whose activities are directly related to carrying out the project. This may include a dedicated project manager or researchers working on the project.

Grant funding can only be used to pay staff for the proportion of their activities that directly relate to carrying out the project.

Grant funding cannot be used for core business expenses, including staff that would be employed regardless of the project.

14. Can staff salaries count as part of the cash contribution, or are they considered to be in-kind contributions?

Staff salaries cannot be included as part of the cash contribution. Staff salaries may be included as part of the in-kind contribution, provided that the costs are justified within the context of the proposed project.