Research Advisory Committees


Apply here to sit on the FRDC Research Advisory Committees


Applications close 10 February at 23:59 pm


A network of eight Research Advisory Committees (RACs) representing the jurisdictions of each State, the Commonwealth, and the Northern Territory supported the delivery of the 2015-2020 RD&E Plan by providing advice to the FRDC on priorities and investment needs relevant to public good and for sectors not covered under Industry Partnership Agreements. Industry Partnership Agreements.

FRDC sees the RACs as being integral to linking priorities and subsequent proposed activities to end users and beneficiaries ‐ i.e., ensuring investment delivers impact.


The RACs, will be continuing to help deliver the FRDC R&D Plan 2020-2025 with the primary role being to:

  • Act as the lead mechanism to identify, synthesise and aggregate priorities articulated by stakeholders
  • Consider avenues for delivery of R&D outputs to end users through identification of suitable extension activities
  • Assist in monitoring invested activities to aid in the delivery of outputs to end users
  • Aid in identifying potential external technical reviewers of applications – this may include RAC members with suitable expertise (and where there are no conflicts of interest)

Key changes to the RAC process include:

  • All RACs will now have competitive approaches to investment with no cap of budget allocations to ensure that investment flows to where priorities are required within and between jurisdictions (noting that FRDC is legislatively required to return the dollar provided by the jurisdiction back to the jurisdiction)
  • Existing R&D plans will be used where possible – removing the requirement for a separate RAC R&D Plan
  • Addressing the issue of conflict of interest, by removing the requirement for applications to be assessed by the RAC – rather members may nominate/be identified as an external reviewer of applications (where appropriate). This will allow a focus on prioritisation and delivery to end users
  • Processes for obtaining RD&E priorities and needs will be trialled the best way to identify stakeholder needs

RAC membership will include a mix of representation and expertise from areas such as industry, post‐harvest, research, and natural resource management, providing the committees with the necessary situational awareness. Committee members will be paid a sitting fee (unless they are a government employee without a separate ABN) for participation at RAC Meetings. Committee membership will be for a two‐year term.

The RAC membership will be constituted to incorporate broad fishing, aquaculture and community expertise (including Indigenous) areas and provide sufficient situational awareness and connectivity to end users through existing networks.


The FRDC will coordinate and provide management support for the committees.

The RACs will convene at least twice a year (being online or face to face), with FRDC anticipating increasing numbers of RAC meetings will be hosted on-line via Microsoft Teams.


RAC Chairs

Independent Chairs will lead the RAC meetings. The FRDC will be appointing a small number of common Chairs that will preside over two to three RACs each. Chairs will be paid a sitting fee. The Chair’s tenure will be for a three‐year term.

The RAC member/Chair selection process will be undertaken using a selection panel, comprising the relevant Director of Fisheries and FRDC. This is consistent with the previous RAC/FRAB process.

FRDC will look to continue to work with our stakeholders to trial and adapt processes to ensure continual improvement.


Open Access – Sourcing input

Over the past several years feedback from the FRDC stakeholder surveys highlighted that a number of processes, such as the RACs, were perceived to be 'closed shops' and not open to everyone. The FRDC aims to address this via a range of mechanisms.

A number of engagement pathways will be trialled throughout the year to seek stakeholder priorities. The goal is to augment the RAC process, providing opportunities for ‘outside’ stakeholders to have input.

Stakeholder input will be collated with input from those put forward by committee members and the FRDC for consideration and prioritisation by the RAC. These will be used by FRDC for its funding calls.

The consideration of priorities (for example, based on expected impact, relevance, strategic alignment) and their relationship to the FRDC R&D Plan 2020-2025 will be one of the key functions of the RACs.

Approaches will be trialled and reviewed at the end of 2021 to determine if they are a useful mechanism to identify priorities from our stakeholders. If one method proves unsuccessful, we will pivot and trial alternative methods in consultation with the RAC.