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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17

Connect globally

Strengthening international research linkages and developing robust partnerships with both the public and private sectors overseas will be essential to achieving the GRDC’s objectives for 2012–17.

Research conducted overseas can provide spillover productivity gains for Australia, through sharing ideas or adapting technology to suit local conditions. Several studies have found that foreign R&D is as important for productivity growth as is domestic R&D, and that foreign research is particularly important to small, open economies such as Australia’s. Although the Australian grains RD&E community is highly regarded internationally, in the global context Australia’s R&D effort is small, representing only about 2 percent of the worldwide effort.

Internationally, the private sector is dominant in RD&E for maize, soybean and canola and becoming increasingly important in RD&E for wheat, barley and sorghum. The private sector is also playing a substantial role in the development of new technologies, including new varieties (both GM and conventional), new pesticide chemistries and advanced engineering.

In the public sector, through organisations such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), international syndicates are forming to solve difficult but important challenges such as lifting yield potential to assist sustainable production in developing countries and increasing water-use efficiency.

A key element in this new strategic direction for the GRDC is the engagement of the international RD&E sector to identify potential opportunities for the GRDC to invest to deliver technology for the benefit of the Australian industry and community. This will also require the identification of Australian partners to test and adapt international technology and deliver it to Australian growers.

The Australian research community has an integral role in connecting globally, through peer review of papers, conferences, research collaborations and the tradition of doctoral students undertaking post-doctoral roles outside their home country. High-quality Australian agricultural research underpins international linkages.

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