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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17

Investment themes

The GRDC’s RD&E investment themes are based on a ‘program logic’ approach (as shown in Figure 5), which utilises concepts for hierarchical planning that were developed by Claude Bennett in the 1970s and are still widely used.

Figure 5 Program logic of GRDC investment themes

Program logic of GRDC investment themes

Source: Cam Nicholson, Nicon Rural Services, August 2011.


The aspirational outcome of each theme describes the long-term goal, to be achieved over 10 or more years. The aspirational outcomes extend beyond the duration of this plan but are important factors to be considered in developing the strategic direction for the next five years.

Each theme also has several intermediate outcomes to be achieved during the course of the plan, which together will progress the industry toward the longer term outcomes.

Underpinning each intermediate outcome are the practice changes that describe what needs to happen in order for that intermediate outcome to be achieved. Within each theme, the GRDC will direct its RD&E investments to activities that most efficiently enable and foster the practice changes required.

The practice changes listed for each investment theme have an on-farm focus, consistent with the GRDC’s commitment to deliver value to growers. However, for many of the outcomes, achieving the necessary practice change at the farm level will also require practice change in other parts of the grains industry.

Where possible, the performance measures to track the progress of key practice changes have been quantified, as shown by the ‘key metrics’ in Figures 6 to 11. For a number of practice changes and outcomes, the development of suitable metrics will require the identification and development of new sources of data about the baseline condition. This is a high priority for the GRDC. As it is achieved further key metrics will be developed. Key performance indicators for each practice change (targets) will be set out each year in the GRDC’s annual operational plan.

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