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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17


The GRDC’s operations are tailored to most effectively apply the organisation’s resources to achieve its outcomes.

Through the GRDC structure, the strengths of the GRDC’s highly committed staff are enhanced by the depth of experience of its directors and the diverse knowledge and skills of its advisory panel members. All aspects of the GRDC’s performance and accountability are underpinned by robust corporate governance policies and practices.


Figure 12 sets out the organisational structure of the GRDC.

Figure 12 Organisational structure

Diagrammatic representation of the organisational structure of the GRDC demonstrating the interrelationships of the Board, Regional and National panels, Managing Director, Senior Leadership Group and the Operational and enabling Business Groups.


The GRDC Board, headed by the Chair, oversees corporate governance, sets strategic direction and monitors the ongoing performance of the corporation and the Managing Director.

The Board has combined expertise in business management strategy; corporate governance; commodity production, processing and marketing; finance; risk management; management and conservation of natural resources and the environment; R&D administration; science, technology and technology transfer; intellectual property management; and public administration.

Board members are appointed by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on the recommendations of an independent selection committee.


The GRDC’s advisory panels help to ensure that GRDC investments are directed towards the interests of all its stakeholders and deliver benefits as relevant products and services in each grain-growing region. The efforts and expertise of this network of growers, advisers and researchers are crucial to the GRDC’s success.

The National Panel:

  • addresses national RD&E priorities across the GRDC’s investment portfolio and makes recommendations to the Board
  • assists the Board to maintain links with grain growers, the Australian Government, state and territory governments and research partners.

The National Panel is composed of the chairs of the three regional panels, the Managing Director and the GRDC’s executive managers.

The Northern Regional Panel, Southern Regional Panel and Western Regional Panel represent Australia’s three grain-growing regions. Each regional panel:

  • identifies and monitors regional and national grains industry issues that are relevant to the region
  • interacts with grower groups, research advisory committees and other interested parties in the region to exchange information
  • identifies and develops priorities for RD&E investment and recommends these to the National Panel
  • keeps growers and advisers in the region informed about the GRDC’s strategic direction, investment portfolio and research projects
  • assists staff in monitoring the effectiveness of the investment portfolio.

The regional panels are composed of grain growers, agribusiness representatives, researchers and the GRDC’s executive managers.

Senior Leadership Group

The Senior Leadership Group is responsible for advising the Board, realising the Board’s priorities, and managing and evaluating the GRDC’s investments in RD&E.

The Senior Leadership Group is composed of the Managing Director and the executive manager of each of the GRDC’s four business groups.

Business groups

The GRDC’s business activities are conducted by three operational business groups and an enabling business group.

Table 6 provides details of each group.

Table 6 GRDC business groups

Mandate Priorities
Operational business groups
Research Programs
Create value for Australian grain growers by investing in R&D programs that address key grains industry priorities, enhance competitiveness and sustainability and generate the greatest potential return for growers and the wider community. Ensure that R&D programs are nationally coordinated and integrated with extension so that the Australian grains industry has access to a highly capable and effective RD&E sector with the infrastructure and capability to meet future industry needs.
  • Design R&D programs focused on addressing issues identified by stakeholders.
  • Deliver R&D outcomes that are adoptable and therefore have an impact at the farm level.
  • Provide scientific advice to stakeholders to assist in the identification of issues.
  • Provide national coordination and regional linkages that ensure that R&D is focused and adoptable.
  • Ensure that R&D capability is maintained in core areas.
Access and develop innovation from Australia and overseas to ensure that it is commercialised in such a way that the overall benefit to Australian grain growers is optimised.
  • Expand the GRDC’s global reach in order to increase the availability of technology to the Australian grains industry.
  • Invest in R&D and commercialisation in commercial grain technologies and commercial farm technologies that meet industry priorities and provide the greatest benefit to the GRDC’s stakeholders.
  • Take the lead in identification, scoping, undertaking market assessment and assessing the value of GRDC commercially orientated investments.
  • Ensure that the GRDC’s investment in intellectual property and commercial enterprises continues to be focused on providing a return on investment.
  • Identify the opportunities provided within the GRDC R&D portfolio to form more commercial partnerships to deliver benefits to the Australian grains industry.
Regional Grower Services
Deliver the outputs of research in innovative products and services that meet the needs of growers and their advisers in each region.
  • Understand growers’ needs (listen to what is important).
  • Develop new and improved grower-orientated products and services.
  • Deliver high-value regionally relevant products and services to growers and advisers.
  • Evaluate the performance and impact of GRDC products and services on growers’ performance.
Enabling business group
Corporate Services
In the context of the GRDC delivering benefits to its stakeholders, provide:
  • the supporting services required for the GRDC to plan, conduct, report on and assess the effectiveness of its operations
  • processes to assist the operational business groups to achieve their objectives
  • support for effective governance of the GRDC by the Board.
  • Plan to satisfy corporation objectives.
  • Establish business processes to optimally support all business groups in the GRDC.
  • Provide services to the operational business groups (human resources, information technology, records management and evaluation).
  • Report for risk and compliance purposes.
  • Perform financial forecasting, reporting and budgeting.
  • Provide legal advice to the corporation.
  • Conduct performance evaluation, including impact assessment.
  • Perform portfolio and business analysis.
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