Eight drought research hubs to be established around Australia

Eight drought research hubs to be established around Australia

A COMPETITIVE grants process to establish eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs across regional Australia has opened.

David Littleproud

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud said the Hubs would provide networks for researchers, primary producers and community groups to work together to enhance drought resilience practices.

“Agricultural research is critical in increasing the productivity of our agriculture sector and must be both useful and accessible to our farmers and regional communities,” Minister Littleproud said.

“That is why the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda is focused on strengthening our regions, increasing uptake of innovation, and establishing a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurship across our agricultural innovation system. The Hubs are an important initiative that will help achieve these objectives.

“The Hubs are an essential part of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, and are the centrepiece of the $86 million Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program, which will help farmers and communities use innovation to become better prepared for future droughts.

“The Hubs will have a regional focus and bring research providers and users together to address local drought resilience research, development, extension, adoption and innovation priorities.

“The more inclusive the Hubs are, the better — the whole point is to get people working together to ensure research and development is useful and used to build drought resilience.

”Hub members will be able to share research and knowledge across their region, work on co-design of projects and on ground delivery with an adoption and commercialisation focus.

“An independent Advisory Committee, to be appointed by early 2021, rather than a regional university will provide oversight across the Hubs, connecting the Hubs to each other and to national priorities and advances.

“I’m focused on maximising opportunities for regional universities to be active participants in Hubs and in our innovation grants program, not just administering and receiving support.

“It’s through the Hubs and innovation projects that universities have the most important role to play.”

The previously announced intention to appoint a regional university to provide national administration of the Hubs will not proceed.

Organisations interested in being a part of a consortium can register their interest through the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Have Your Say website.

The platform hosts an interactive map enabling interested parties to nominate their location.

Using the map, organisations can form connections with other interested parties in their region.

The Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program includes the eight hubs, drought resilience innovation grants, a research investment plan and science to practice forum.

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