R&D Consultation

MLA is implementing a new regional consultation framework for directing research, development and adoption (RD&A) investment for grassfed cattle and sheepmeat levies.

The framework was developed following an independent review of MLA's levy investment systems for on-farm R&D. MLA commissioned the review in early 2013 as part of our regular drive for continuous improvement in the way we engage stakeholders in setting RD&A priorities, implementation of strategy and two-way industry communication.

Making it easier to have your say

The aim is to have a transparent, representative, cost-effective and systematic framework that underpins effective and relevant RD&A investment.

The underlying principles of the process are:

  • It enables broad, transparent and effective levy payer engagement (and subsequent co-investor engagement) in identifying industry RD&A priorities.
  • The framework enables MLA to provide a leadership role for addressing the RD&A priorities under the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 4 (MISP 4) and Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) and Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) industry plans.
  • There is alignment to the project call process and the management of the MLA RD&A portfolio balance.
  • There is clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of committees involved. Each committee has a consistent charter of operations that stipulates deliverables, processes, etc. that underpin operations and conduct.
  • It enables transparency in the process of priority setting, project assessment, external peer review processes, and the achievement of outputs and outcomes from RD&A investment.
  • The process enables a two-way flow of information utilising a bottom-up, top-down system of information flow involving testing of RD&A concepts as well as identifying regional RD&A priorities.
  • The industry focus areas are grassfed beef and sheepmeat levies given the processing, feedlot sector, live export and goat levies operate under existing structures. However, there is flexibility to allow for different red meat sectors to engage as appropriate and refer proposals to the relevant expert panel on an ad hoc basis.
  • Representation within committees across all levels engages levy payers on a regional basis, which utilises a skills-based selection process, and includes co-investors and supply chain members as appropriate.
  • It provides a clear separation between project decision making and project management.
  • It doesn’t duplicate existing structures and committees, but rather works within existing structures.
  • The various MLA-funded consultation groups are considered a training ground for developing future industry leaders, and include an induction and mentoring program.
  • The system is subject to a process of annual review and continuous improvement to ensure it remains relevant, representative and cost effective.

Click here to view MLA's new regional consultation framework.

Four levels of consultation

The regional consultation framework is based on four levels of consultation and is aligned to the annual project call process.

Level 1: Broad strategic direction on RD&A investment

This level engages the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) through our respective peak industry councils (PICs).

At this level, MLA requires:

  • The meat industry strategic vision for the next five years;
  • Advice on major outcome areas for RD&A to deliver benefits to the industry i.e. the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 4 (MISP 4) and other related industry plans;
  • Prioritisation of outcomes and an informed position on what is required to achieve the outcomes;
  • A culture of advocacy for the RD&A innovation system;
  • A process for alignment with Commonwealth priorities; and
  • A system for being accountable and reporting on the delivery of outcomes for industry.

Level 2: Specific outcome advice on national priorities and portfolio balance

This level features the Red Meat Panel which consists of:

  • MLA executive representatives;
  • Chairs of the Independent Expert Technical panels;
  • Chair of the Northern Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC);
  • Chair of the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC);
  • Chair of the Western Australia Livestock Research Council (WALRC);
  • Three producer panel members (a northern, southern and western representative).

The Red Meat Panel considers the balance of regional versus national investment priorities and is the single point of advice on RD&A investment for implementation by MLA.

At this level, MLA requires a process that:

  • Prioritises the RD&A portfolio, taking into account national priorities and feedback from both the Producer and Independent Technical Expert panels;
  • Is informed on national RD&A issues by consolidated regional information from the regional committees NABRC/SAMRC/WALRC;
  • Utilises an evidence-based approach to providing the value of any issue put forward;
  • Utilises a clear decision-making framework based on terms of reference and guiding principles for engagement;
  • Provides the information required for effectively reporting to our peak industry councils at R&D taskforce meetings;
  • Will be responsible for monitoring and advising on the MLA RD&A portfolio balance of strategic, applied, development and adoption projects along with short and long-term investments.

Level 3: Regional prioritisation of outcomes

The three councils – NABRC, SAMRC and WALRC – represent the interests of northern, southern and western grassfed cattle, sheep and lamb levy payers.

At this level, MLA requires a process that:

  • Brings levy payers and co-investors together to review regional priorities against the national priorities;
  • Enables operational advice specific to a purpose/activity/outcome e.g. genetics;
  • Challenges, ground truths and reality checks regional priorities and any market testing of RD&A concepts, including a process for forecasting and pre-empting industry trends and direction;
  • Integrates/aligns with the MLA expert panels;
  • Provides gap analysis of priorities that need to be addressed through RD&A investment;
  • Promotes the RD&A innovation system and ensures best practice RD&A is being maintained; and
  • Identifies and enables collaboration and co-investment arrangements to be supported.

Level 4: Regional Red Meat and Livestock Committees

There are 11 northern committees, seven southern committees and a co-ordinator to work with existing producer groups in Western Australia.

Committees represent different agro-climatic zones. Each committee consists of at least six producers from a range of geography and enterprise types with a balance of species (grassfed beef and lamb/mutton).

The committees help set the RD&A agenda through identifying relevant priorities and also provide a platform for testing new concepts. They are also a central point to co-ordinate regular MLA communication activities, such as RD&A updates, thus providing a two-way feedback mechanism.

The key roles of these committees are:

  • Identify needs of the region that may be addressed by RD&A;
  • Prioritise the relative importance of needs/potential benefits;
  • Act as consulting panels to review and provide feedback on RD&A concepts;
  • Assess RD&A resources required in the region;
  • Report to NABRC/ SAMRC/ WALRC and MLA on regional trends/priorities;
  • Act as champions to support MLA communication activities and promote MLA RD&A programs.

All appointments are skills-based and made using a transparent recruitment process based on selection criteria. MLA and local agency/supply chain representatives are engaged as needed.

MLA annual sheepmeat and grassfed beef call

2018/19 sheepmeat and grassfed beef RD&A priorities

The Red Meat Panel, comprising members from NABRC, SAMRC and WALRC, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, the Cattle Council of Australia and MLA, advised the 2018-19 research, development and adoption (RD&A) priorities for investment of sheepmeat and grassfed beef levies through the 2018/19 MLA annual call.

The Panel considered the 2018-19 RD&A priorities from regional consultation, past and current sheepmeat and grassfed beef RD&A and RD&A gaps to identify RD&A priorities for the 2018/19 MLA annual call.

The 2018/19 sheepmeat and grassfed beef RD&A priorities can be downloaded here.

2017/18 annual call - results

A full list of 12 RD&A proposals that were funded through the 2017/18 MLA annual call can be found here.

2016/17 annual call - results

A full list of 18 RD&A proposals that were funded through the 2016/17 MLA annual call can be found here.

2018/19 annual call results - available in August 2018

A full list of RD&A proposals that were funded through the 2018/19 MLA annual call will be available online in August 2018.

2019/20 MLA annual call for preliminary proposals – OPENS SEPTEMBER 2018

The Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) call for preliminary proposals from individuals, organisations or project teams to address the 2019/20 research, development and adoption priorities for sheepmeat and grassfed beef will open in September 2018. Please continue to check here for regularly for updates on the 2019/20 annual call.

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