FAQs on FRDC Research Projects

Since January, the FRDC staff and Board have been closely monitoring and planning the FRDCs business continuity following the COVID-19 outbreak. We will provide updates on FRDC business as they come on the COVID-19 page on the FRDC website.

The starting point for FRDC is the welfare and safety of the staff and our stakeholders.

Safety First – The FRDC is strongly committed to a policy that facilitates work activities being carried out safely, and that enables all possible measures to remove (or at least reduce) risks to the health, safety and welfare of its employees, contractors, volunteers, visitors so far as reasonably practicable.

The situation remains fluid, with changes occurring regularly. The FRDC will review and update its policies and actions as often as needed, providing updates via the website.

The FRDC are aware that the current COVID-19 restrictions may impact on researchers and staff working on projects and that currently impacts can be different for different institutions.

The following aims to address common questions around FRDC's RD&E investment in light of COVID-19.

If you have additional questions that aren’t in this list feel free to contact the FRDC through a member of the project management team, or email your queries through to frdc.programs@frdc.com.au if you are unsure of who to contact.

 

Question: Will active projects be terminated?

Answer: No. At this stage all projects are continuing. 

 

Question: What is going to happen to my current active contracted FRDC project?

Answer: All current active contracted projects will continue to be managed as normal. It is our expectation that, unless previously agreed upon, FRDC project reporting will continue to be delivered against the existing contracted milestone schedule. See below if you think there will be issues with your project(s).

The FRDC staff will continue to review project reporting and make associated milestone payments. The FRDC portfolio managers will initiate contact with all Principal Investigators of currently contracted FRDC projects to discuss current milestone schedules and reporting, potential submission of milestones and any likely future delays. As a Principal Investigator you may wish to complete a COVID-19 Management Plan prior to this call.

 

Question: What should I do if my FRDC project activity is (likely to be) impacted by COVID-19?

Answer: If you are working on a project and activities such as fieldwork continue to be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, it is recommended that you contact your relevant FRDC Portfolio Manager or frdc.programs@frdc.com.au to alert the FRDC to any anticipated delays to project activities. The FRDC are committed to remaining flexible in working with its service providers to ensure that any COVID-19 related impacts are minimised, and do not undermine project activity outputs.

Depending on the stage of your project, there might be the potential to change the order of project deliverables, such that desktop work can still be progressed while field or laboratory work is deferred. This could also involve partial milestone reporting for partial, commensurate milestone payments. These will be considered on a case by case basis. 

The FRDC will work with those researchers whose project activities and reporting are being impacted due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The FRDCs preference is for outstanding milestones that pre-date COVID-19 restrictions to be submitted. The current restrictions in place provide an opportunity to catch up on any reporting that may be due such as milestone and draft final reports. These can also be sent to frdc.programs@frdc.com.au for us to process and review.

 

Question: What will happen to my recently submitted application?

Answer: For recently submitted applications (e.g. from the February round), evaluation of these applications has been temporarily put on hold until a better understanding of likely impacts to FRDC and its financial partners are known. A priority for the FRDC is to understand these impacts as the situation changes for the Australian seafood industry and its likely consequences. We anticipate this delay could be until June 2020, however current forecasting suggests that FRDC will see a decrease in revenue available for investment in R&D.

Once this impact is better understood the FRDC will then undertake the following:

  • Will assess those applications where budget is considered available but will require the applicant to complete a COVID-19 Management Plan
  • Where budget is available but the FRDC considers that activities cannot be undertaken due to the need to undertake fieldwork or travel interstate or internationally, the application will be deferred and reviewed by the FRDC at a later point in time
  • Where budget is not available due to likely revenue impacts to the FRDC or the application was not supported by one of FRDCs partners, the application will not be approved.

Question: I have received notification from the FRDC that my application has been approved, but the project agreement is not yet executed, what will happen to my application?

Answer: For those previously approved applications where project agreement drafting, and exchange is in process between the FRDC and the service provider:

  • The FRDC will request an applicant complete a COVID-19 Management Plan, in order to better understand potential implications to delivery of a project.
    • If the project will experience delays, the exchange of contract will be deferred until such time that the activity is unlikely to be impacted. The FRDC will maintain contact with the Principal Investigator to understand when activities can again occur, adjust the milestone schedules and then reissue the contracts.
    • If the project will not experience delays, then the contracting will be continued.

 

Question: Will there be an April call for applications?

Answer: There will not be an April call for applications. The FRDC will reassess future calls for applications post April, and we will alert our stakeholders using existing media platforms, when a call is announced at a later point in time.

 

Question: Who do I contact if I have any questions or issues with my FRDC project and/or application?

Answer: Please refer to the FRDC website for the details of the relevant FRDC portfolio manager for the IPA, RAC or Subprogram. Otherwise, do not hesitate to contact frdc.programs@frdc.com.au.