2015 GRDC restructure, research investments and contacts

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) recently commenced a comprehensive program to better equip the corporation to meet the changing needs of those we serve, Australian grain growers and the wider community. This focus on improvement will see 95 per cent of our expenditure going directly into research, development, extension and commercialisation, with less than five per cent being spent on indirect overheads and administration.

This change is required because:

  • There has been significant growth in the industry from $8.5 billion in 2009-10 to $15.5 billion in 2013-14
  • State departments and our other traditional research partners are reducing their role in R, D and E, due to declining budgets
  • The private sector is playing an increasingly important role in grains innovations
  • Grains research is becoming progressively global
  • There are evolving industry and government issues and agenda that need to be carefully considered and taken into account (Industry Owned Company, relocation, Representative Organisations)
  • There is still a general lack of awareness about what the GRDC does and the value that the GRDC brings to industry and the broader community
  • The GRDC no longer has a minor role in the Australian grains industry. The GRDC is growing in significance and influence, and as such we are expected to play a greater leadership role.

The changes will further grow our already substantial rural footprint. In 2014-15 the GRDC invested more than $196 million in grains related research. As you know much of this investment supports researchers, advisers and grower groups based in regional locations

As a consequence, the GRDC has decided to establish a number of regional headquarters, each led by a Senior Executive charged with developing and implementing a regional strategy that coordinates investments in short (1-3 years) and medium (3-8 years) timeframes. This new model will recognise the great diversity in environmental factors, farming systems and grower profiles across the nation and deliver better coordination and tailored benefits to growers at the regional and local levels.

Our plan envisages the establishment of four offices. The North will be served by offices in Toowoomba and Dubbo. In the South, we will be based at Roseworthy, although initially Adelaide. And in the West, we already have an established office in Perth, but with the intent to move this office to Northam following discussions with DAFWA and the proposed GrainsWest Precinct.

Under this plan, while achieving a significant transfer of focus and function to the regions, the GRDC will maintain a central office in Canberra to manage the longer-term, more strategic research investments (8+ years) that serve all of Australia, which are best managed centrally with strong international interactions and collaboration. This will avoid any disruption to the capacity to administer key research programs currently underway and our ongoing capacity to attract and retain the brightest and best technical and professional people while our regional capacity grows. It will also maintain the current close proximity to industry bodies, policy makers, and the Department, as well as key research partners such as CSIRO, the Australian National University and other RDCs.

As advised previously a number of redundancies were announced in mid-June. The GRDC is in the process of recruiting staff to fill new positions both in Canberra and in the regions. However, we recognise that you will want to know who the relevant contact is at the GRDC for your respective projects. We have as far as possible allocated all current projects to a Manager; outlined in the 2015 GRDC research investments and contacts.

Please note that not all GRDC investments are listed because of confidentiality or privacy obligations. As a consequence of the latter GRDC scholarships, both undergraduate and post graduate are not listed. For the relevant manager refer to the GRDC Organisation Chart for the discipline or area in which the scholarship fits..

While the process is underway, we have some months to go before our restructure is complete and our new regional offices open. We anticipate having this finalised by early 2016.

We have appreciated your patience as the corporation has made and continues to make changes that we believe will significantly improve GRDC and position us and the industry well for the future.

The GRDC is also undertaking a significant review of our investment process, which we hope will make working with us a better experience enabling us all to deliver greater research outcomes.

Thank you for your support and patience, the GRDC has a successful track record spanning almost 25 years, we are proud of the achievements and outcomes we have delivered to growers in partnership with you. We look forward to continuing to keep you updated on our progress.

Region National