Improving the adaptation and profitability of high value pulses (chickpea and lentil) across Australian agroecological zones

RFT Terms and Conditions

Please note that the Request for Tender (RFT) Terms and Conditions apply to all RFTs where tenderers are required to submit their responses electronically via the Grains Investment Portal.

Request for Tender
Improving the adaptation and profitability of high value pulses (chickpea and lentil) across Australian agroecological zones

This investment aims at comprehensive characterisation of major genes and loci controlling phenology/flowering time, a key adaptation trait, in cultivated chickpea and lentil and their wild relatives. The investment will generate a comprehensive, high-quality dataset of chickpea and lentil phenology (flowering, beginning and end of pod-set, maturity) from field trials with locations in the three growing regions, controlled environment facilities, and large samples of diverse genetic material.

Reference No.
PROC-9176009
Release Date
Closing Time
Offer Period
Tenders will remain open for acceptance by the GRDC for a period of 6 months after the closing time.
Deadline for Submission of Tender Enquiries
Document Contact and Enquiries

Attention: Justine Morgan

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Email: Justine.Morgan@grdc.com.au

All requests for further information or clarification in relation to this investment should be made in writing (email) prior to Wednesday 14th of August 2019, 05:00 PM ACT local time

All requests and responses to requests will be published on the GRDC website under Questions and Answers at the bottom of this webpage.

Lodgement of Tender
Tenderers must submit their responses electronically through the Grains Investment Portal at: https://access.grdc.com.au - Please read this entire page before lodging an application in the Grains Investment Portal

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is a statutory corporation established under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989. It is subject to accountability and reporting obligations set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. It is responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research and development, and delivering improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry. Learn more about what GRDC does.


Background

The production of high value, human consumption pulses in Australia is dominated by lentil and chickpea, and is concentrated on the more fertile soils in the medium rainfall areas of the southern and northern regions. Due to the farming system benefits of imposing a double break and the high prices in recent years, there is much interest in expanding lentil and chickpea production onto soils with a number of constraints (acidity, nutrient toxicities and deficiencies, poor structure) and into other rainfall zones. It is critical that new pulses be developed and managed such that the crop life-cycle fits within the constraints of availability of soil water, frost and heat stresses and flowering and pod-set occur in the optimum window for different agroecological zones.

As time to flowering and pod-set are so critical in these crops, understanding and improving them in existing production regions and where they have not been optimised yet is one of the most critical elements that can contribute to their adoption and deliver potential step changes in yield and profit. The national pulse phenology investment proposed will utilise common genetic resources across existing and potential pulse expansion regions of Australia to expedite delivery of data, tools and knowledge which can inform crop breeding. It will leverage international R&D activities, and new synergies provided by recent developments in understanding of genome synteny and conserved pathways in this group of crops to deliver on investment outputs.

What is new

There is a gap in understanding of the genetic control underlying phenology in pulse crops (chickpea and lentil) which underpins ‘fitting’ crop growth into the best timeframe for target production environments. The genes/ quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified will present the opportunity to:

(i) determine the genetic basis of contrasting adaptation characteristics of chickpea and lentil,

(ii) match critical phenological stages to the constraints and opportunities of the target environment,

(iii) identify genetic and environmental factors controlling the rate of phasic development and reproductive survival across a range of target environments to inform breeding decisions and growers choice of varieties.

Knowledge of the effect of different phenology gene/allele combinations of pulse crops across diverse environments will facilitate the development of new varieties with higher yield potential and better yield stability than currently available in existing production zones and potential expansion areas. This will not only maintain the sustainability of the pulses in their traditional areas but facilitate growth and expansion into new target production environments. This is of particular relevance to the Western region where the current production area of both crops is low <5,000 ha) but the potential is high, particularly for chickpeas as an alternative to lupin.

Access to improved varieties and knowledge will help growers match the life-cycle of pulse crops to Australian growing conditions and close the gap between achieved versus potential yield, increasing farm productivity and profitability.

Investment description

This investment aims at comprehensive characterisation of major genes and loci controlling phenology/flowering time, a key adaptation trait, in cultivated chickpea and lentil and their wild relatives. The investment will generate a comprehensive, high-quality dataset of chickpea and lentil phenology (flowering, beginning and end of pod-set, maturity) from field trials with locations in the three growing regions, controlled environment facilities, and large samples of diverse genetic material. This data set will be a critical input to the:

a)    genetic analyses, the focus of this investment

b)    generating critical datasets for potential modelling R&D to support risk analysis

c)     farming systems agronomy research.

Expected Outcome

Profitable pulse crops as part of the farming system that contributes to enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.

By 2023, Australian chickpea and lentil breeders have access to genetic and phenotyping tools to improve the matching of variety and environment for established and emerging production environments.

Expected Outputs

By 2022,

  1. Knowledge of genetic and environmental control of chickpea and lentil phenology including identification of QTLs/genes controlling flowering, beginning and end of pod-set and maturity delivered to Australian breeders.
  2. A genetic database that accounts for the variation in phenology of existing Australian chickpea and lentil varieties, and key pre-breeding and breeding lines. This database will be available for breeders to select parents for breeding crosses and for informing predictive models.
  3. Comprehensive, high-quality datasets of grain yield, linked to phenology, for a targeted set of latitudes and thermal environments. These data will be used in two ways. First, to develop tools that will guide breeders in the choice of parents to be used in crossing for developing varieties with potential to match phenological development of high yielding chickpea and lentil varieties to their target production environment. Second, generate data that will contribute in further R&D efforts towards developing crop simulation models which will assist growers in risk analysis in decisions around chickpea and lentil production.
  4. Knowledge of the optimal phase development patterns of high yielding chickpea and lentil germplasm, within a defined set of relevant Australian target production environment types.

Application

All applications must be submitted via the GRDC Grains Investment Portal https://access.grdc.com.au/ by 2 pm AEDT Wednesday 21 August 2019.

To register as a first-time user, please visit https://access.grdc.com.au/ and:

  • Click on the register button at the top right-hand side.
  • Complete the Registration Form. Fill in all the fields: your email address, a password and the captcha. Your password must be alphanumeric with at least one special character (i.e. not a letter or number). Click register to continue the process.
  • Registration is confirmed by the system sending an email to you, with details to complete the registration process.
  • Once the registration process is complete, you can sign in and review all investments open for tender

Once you have located this investment, you can commence the application process by completing the details for each field available, until you reach “Submit Application” on the last page.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact GRDC Contracts Administrator via email Justine.Morgan@grdc.com.au or use the online support function available.

For information on "Applying" and how to register refer to these guides in the GRDC help centre:

Contracting

The investment will be contracted on a GRDC Standard Research Agreement (Two Party).

This four-year investment will start October 2019 and conclude June 2024.

Requirements

The investment will be offered based on a set of eligibility and selection criteria:

  • Eligibility criteria: the conditions applicants must fulfil to be eligible to apply
  • Selection criteria: the items against which applications will be evaluated. Each criterion is assigned certain points which are summed to rank the applications in each advertised investment area.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The Applicant must be a single legal entity or recognised firm of partners.
  2. The Applicant and any proposed subcontractor must be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Selection Criteria

Criteria No.

Description

Weighting against selection criteria (%)

1

A clear, innovative and thorough plan to achieve the project outputs, specifying:

  1. method to be used (including anticipated statistical analysis capacity);
  2. proposed milestones;
  3. staffing (including relevant skills, experience and availability of key personnel and proposed subcontractors);
  4. budget (defining the funds sought in each year of the project and the potential co-investment from all parties); and
  5. project structure and management arrangements including any proposed collaborations with other projects.

25%

2

A clear and thorough plan to deliver the project outcome, specifying:

  1. target users of the project outputs (who will the project directly deliver to);
  2. process that will be employed to deliver the outcome (pathway to market);
  3. specific information, products and/or services to be delivered to target users; and
  4. approach which will be employed to manage project IP including potential for development of commercial IP (if relevant).

25%

3

Demonstrated track record of the project team, including:

  1. relevant achievements of the project leader in providing leadership, co-ordination, management, monitoring and evaluation and the timely delivery of high-quality outputs;
  2. relevant technical knowledge and experience of all key personnel (including proposed subcontractors) in research disciplines required to deliver the proposal;
  3. relevant experience in the successful transfer of research outputs (IP) to third parties including private industry and commercialisation partners;
  4. ability of the project team to build productive collaborative relationships with relevant research organisations and industry personnel; and
  5. experience in building upon existing research (national and international with emphasis on pulses).

20%

4

Freedom to operate in regard to the provision of the project outputs to GRDC or a third party if required.

  1. Demonstrated evidence of leveraging international collaborations including data sets to expedite delivery of project outputs
  2. detail any Research Organisation intellectual property that is required to deliver the project outputs and any restrictions that may impact on the provision of project outputs to GRDC or a third party, if required.
  3. detail any third party intellectual property that is required to deliver the project outputs and any restrictions that may impact on the provision of project outputs to GRDC or a third party, if required.
  4. other intellectual property that may impact upon the delivery of project outputs to GRDC or a third-party.
  5. the approach to be taken to overcome any restrictions identified.

10%

5

The cost effectiveness and value for money of the tender response including evidence of co-investment towards the project.

10%

6

Compliance with the tender eligibility requirements and the current Research Agreement Terms; specification of any special conditions that will be requested.

5%

7

Quality and effectiveness of risk controls; demonstration that all significant risks have been assessed and appropriate controls determined to mitigate risks.

5%

Proposed GRDC Investment

The GRDC is focussed on delivering value to Australian grain growers, therefore, your application must demonstrate fair market value.

Attachments

None

Questions and Answers

Q1: Could you please clarify if the agro-ecological zones are the same as the GRDC map of a few years back.

A1: The Australian grains industry agro-ecological zones refers to grains production agro-ecological zones in the Northern, Southern and Western regions of Australia.

Q2. Can you please confirm if PROC-9176009 is intended to be a 4 year investment starting October 2019 and concluding June 2024, as stated under the Contracting section. I ask this question as the Expected Outputs are to be delivered by 2022, and the Expected Outcome by 2023, which would suggest a 3 year investment.

A2. The investment term will span FY2020, FY2021, FY2022 & FY2023 and therefore with some deliverables occurring in between, thus, it is a 4 year investment.