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Review of systems for investment in on-farm R&D

In early 2013, MLA commissioned an independent review of the systems we use for investing grassfed cattle and sheepmeat levies in on-farm research and development (R&D) projects to get recommendations as part of our regular drive for continuous improvement.  The purpose was to find ways to strengthen our systems to maximise the benefits from producer investment.

A key driver for commissioning the review was the changing nature of the R&D landscape including the cessation of the Beef CRC, the continued decline in state agency R&D resources and the implications of working under the National RD&E framework.

Given these significant changes in the operating environment, it is critical that as the R&D service company, MLA ensures it is focussed on the efficient and effective investment of industry R&D funds.

MLA asked the review panel to identify areas for improvement in the framework for making investments in on-farm R&D projects and to advise what MLA should be doing to achieve international best practice.

The review sought to:

  1. Clearly identify and document the current capacity, skills, policies, procedures and practices with respect to the R&D planning, investment, management and extension processes.
  2. Have the capacity, skills, policies, procedures and practices reviewed by an external committee to ensure they are appropriate and best practice (benchmarked against other RDCs; R&D business units in commercial organisations, Australian Research Council) and to identify weaknesses, gaps and areas for improvement.
  3. Suggest improvements to current capacity, skills, policies, procedures and practices to more effectively and efficiently manage the R&D process and recommend how these improvements are implemented.

Presentations have been made to both Cattle Council of Australia and Sheepmeat Council of Australia on the review and its recommendations.  A committee has since been formed with representation from CCA, SCA and MLA to work through the recommendations with a view to developing a R&D Framework that will meet the future needs and expectations of the industry.

The 11 recommendations from the review along with progress to date can be viewed by accessing the document below.  MLA will continue to update and report on progress against recommendations.

More information

View the 11 recommendations

If you would like a copy of the full review document please email