Research, Development and Extension Data

To remain competitive in the digital economy, the Australian grains industry must improve its ability to harness the value of research, development and extension (RD&E) data.

GRDC invests in the creation of RD&E data through its RD&E projects. This RD&E data are a resource that holds value for creating enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.

To effectively manage this resource for the benefit of Australian grain growers, GRDC will:

  • ensure RD&E Data are used to drive innovation and accelerate RD&E outcomes;
  • encourage collaboration to extend the value of RD&E Data;
  • require RD&E Data to be secured and accessible;
  • require RD&E Data to be accurately collected, stored and maintained; and
  • support ongoing training and education in relation to RD&E Data management.

Managing data better is one of the four core frameworks in the GRDC RD&E Plan 2023-28 that underpins all of GRDC’s investments (see GRDC Data and Analytics Core Framework).

Data management with GRDC research partners

Data management principles

GRDC manages RD&E data in accordance with the FAIR principles whereby RD&E data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) to maximise its value.

A FAIR approach to the management of RD&E data:

  • Supports knowledge discovery and innovation both by people and machines.
  • Supports data and knowledge integration.
  • Promotes sharing and reuse of data.
  • Can be applied across multiple disciplines and help data and metadata to be reusable and machine readable.
  • Supports new discoveries through the harvest and analysis of multiple datasets and outputs.

GRDC applies these principles across the breadth of its RD&E data management work across data collection, storage, access and sharing.

Data collection and storage

To support best practices in RD&E data collection and storage, GRDC partners must:

  • Collect RD&E data and primary materials in accordance with legal, contractual, statutory, and ethical requirements, and discipline best practice.
  • Retain clear, accurate, secure, and complete records of all RD&E data, project metadata and primary materials. This requirement is consistent with a requirement in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • Store RD&E data in Approved repositories. A list of approved repositories is included in the GRDC RD&E Data Capture and Storage – Guidelines for Research Partners.
  • Have storage, security and privacy measures for RD&E data that are proportional to the risks associated with the confidentiality and sensitivities of those data.
  • Take all reasonable steps to protect RD&E data against misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
  • Ensure RD&E data are findable in the GRDC Data Catalogue.

More information for GRDC research partners is available on the  Contracts and Templates page and in the GRDC RD&E Data Capture and Storage – Guidelines for Research Partners.

Data access and sharing

Data access relates to the ability of interested parties to retrieve and use data. The accessibility of data directly relates to if and how it is shared by the data manager.

GRDC partners must comply with reasonable restrictions and obligations on the sharing of RD&E data, including those imposed by GRDC and others through contracts, licenses, permissions granted by data custodians and the requirements of privacy laws.

RD&E data will be made as open as possible and closed as necessary: encouraging data-driven innovation; while safeguarding the privacy of participants, protecting confidential data and intellectual property, protecting sensitive data, and complying with any contractual obligations.

GRDC will seek to maximise dissemination and use of RD&E data as determined on a case-by-case basis.

When accessing or using third-party data, GRDC partners must be transparent with the third parties about what data will be collected, used and generated in their projects, as well as the purposes for which it will be collected, used and shared in order to not infringe the rights of any third party or to breach any obligation of confidence owed to a third party.

GRDC will require GRDC partners to comply with reasonable restrictions on the sharing of third-party data used in GRDC projects, including those imposed by contracts, licenses, permissions granted by data custodians and the requirements of privacy laws.

Data Management Plans

GRDC requires all research partners to complete and submit a Data Management Plan when they are engaged in a GRDC project/investment. Data Management Plans outlines how the partner will manage RD&E data generated through the project and who is responsible for complying with GRDC’s data management requirements.

GRDC will clearly communicate the requirements for GRDC partners around RD&E data including through contracts, Data Management Plans and the  GRDC RD&E Data Capture and Storage – Guidelines for Research Partners Management.

Data resources for researchers

GRDC Data Catalogue

GRDC manages hundreds of RD&E projects at any given time, most of which generate new data such as yield, soil, genetic, weather and other experimental data. The GRDC Data Catalogue helps make data generated through GRDC’s co-investments findable. The GRDC Data Catalogue houses project metadata – data about data – from GRDC investments.

The data itself will be stored and managed by research partners, but it is more findable through the singular portal of the GRDC Data Catalogue. The GRDC Data Catalogue provides users with a one-stop searchable list of valuable data created in GRDC’s investments. It houses project metadata for data generated from current and historical GRDC investments.

Users can search the GRDC Data Catalogue according to multiple criteria to help them locate RD&E data, unlocking more powerful investment opportunities that build on GRDC’s existing data assets. The first tranche of metadata included in the GRDC Data Catalogue has been populated as part of the GRDC Data Partnerships Initiative. Additional metadata will be created and loaded to the GRDC Data Catalogue as Data Management Plans are developed and implemented across GRDC’s investment portfolio.

The GRDC Data Catalogue is still in its infancy. At the time it was launched it had almost 900 metadata records, representing over 1,200 datasets from investments with organisations involved in the Data Partnership Initiative. Users may not find what they are looking for right now, but over time, as the Catalogue builds, more and more data will be findable.

Data findable in the Data Catalogue has different access restrictions. This means access to data findable in the GRDC Data Catalogue is not immediate, however GRDC will respond to all requests to access data as soon as possible.

Data Partnerships Initiative

GRDC’s Data Partnerships Initiative ran for 18 months in 2022 and 2023. The initiative engaged with 12 major GRDC research partners to build their expertise with data management and to improve data management across the RD&E investment portfolio.

The Data Partnerships Initiative focussed on data discovery and organisational alignment.

The data discovery work located and catalogued valuable data generated from GRDC co-investments over the past 10 years with the research partners involved. The research partners identified valuable datasets and ensured that the data was stored safely in an approved research data repository and was findable through the GRDC Data Catalogue.

The organisational alignment work used the foundations that already existed across the partners in RD&E Data management to build additional capability and value for the grains industry and the organisations. It established a new community of practice in the management of RD&E Data in the grains industry. The organisational alignment aspect of the Data Partnerships investment also involved agricultural research data management experts Federation University working with the research partners and GRDC to improve data governance, storage, standards, vocabularies, and access for historical, current, and future data sets.

All the research partners are contributed collaboratively and individually to the Data Partnerships Initiative to improve RD&E Data management and consequently outcomes for the Australian grains industry.

Read more about the Data Partnerships Initiative in the GroundCover article Data partnership builds expertise to harness data treasure trove and listen to the GRDC Podcast: Data Partnerships Initiative.


DataHarvest is a co-investment between GRDC and Curtin University that will build on the foundation established by the Data Partnerships Initiative.

DataHarvest will work with more than 80 GRDC research partners to continue to build capacity and capability in the way RD&E data are managed in the grains industry. Partners will include grower and farming systems groups, industry service providers, federal and state agencies and universities. It will provide them with the skills and resources required to manage and use RD&E data according to FAIR principles.

DataHarvest will develop online data management resources, including materials and videos based on GRDC RD&E Data Capture and Storage Guidelines and a handbook with guidelines. A Support Services Centre will also be established to provide ongoing assistance in data management, contactable via

Tailored workshops/courses/webinars will facilitate hands-on learning of FAIR skills, focusing on identifying data for collection and storage, metadata creation, registration of project metadata with the GRDC Data Catalogue and uploading project data to an approved repository.

The DataHarvest team will supervise quality control processes for Data Management Plans and project metadata registered within the GRDC Data Catalogue, and provide feedback and advice to GRDC management regarding non-compliance issues and opportunities for improvement.

Read more about the DataHarvest investment.

GRDC Project Code: DJP2201-004RTX, CUR2206-001SAX, DAW2206-007SAX, FED2206-002SAX, UMU2210-002BGX, DPI2206-024BGX, DAQ2210-002BGX, UOA2210-002BGX, UOA2206-008SAX, UOQ2301-004BGX, UOS2208-001BGX, UWA2206-005SAX,