The national Primary Industries Standing Committee* (PISC) has initiated an agenda to rationalise the national research, development and extension (RD&E) framework servicing agriculture. The framework spans 14 primary industry sectors and 7 cross-industry sectors. The 14 industry sectors are: beef, cotton, dairy, fishing and aquaculture, forests, grains, horticulture, pork, poultry, sheep-meat, sugar, wine, wool and new and emerging industries. The 7 cross-sector strategies are: animal biosecurity, animal welfare, biofuels and bioenergy, climate change and variability, food and nutrition, plant biosecurity and water use in agriculture. These reviews are overseen by the PISC R&D Subcommittee which has a member from the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture on it.
The PISC National RD&E framework seeks to consolidate investment in RD&E to achieve:
- Agreed strategic directions and priorities for national and sector level primary industries RD&E in Australia that enhance the productivity and sustainability of Australia’s primary industries;
- Research capability that will more comprehensively and holistically cover the present and future strategic needs of stakeholders nationally;
- Reduced fragmentation of research across the nation so that public research capability will become more integrated, interdependent and specialised, and have larger critical mass;
- Improved efficiency and effectiveness of RD&E will be improved and as a consequence returns on investment will improve;
- Focussed RD&E investment that will improve the capability of the national system in priority areas and ensure effective and efficient use of resources, including infrastructure;
- Enhanced collaboration to retain and build capability in fields strategically important to different jurisdictions and industry sectors;
- An intergrated national research capability that will be a component of a wider innovation agenda, supporting development and extension; and
- Research undertaken in one location will be developed and extended nationally for primary industries.
(Source: National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension Network Statement of Intent)
The PISC RD&E framework is focussing on achieving National R, Regional D and Local E. To achieve this each of the jurisdictions, CSIRO, and the Universities have been asked identify whether their activities will be Major, Support or Link in various designated research activities in each of the sectoral reviews:
Major: Will maintain a lead role in providing R&D capability towards national outcomes;
Support: Will contribute to R&D in partnership but the major role will be taken by another jurisdiction or institution;
Link: Will not undertake R&D but will access information and resources from other jurisdictions (E only).
The application of the M,S&L categorisation will result in designated major lead (M) and support (S) jurisdictions and institutions undertaking RD&E with a national and sector perspective; as well as other jurisdictions withdrawing from some RD&E activities and sourcing required RD&E outcomes from M&S designated institutions.
(* The Primary Industries Standing Committee comprises the heads of the national and state government departments associated with primary industries).