Sources close to the Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies have suggested this afternoon that the industry’s peak research vehicle has been knocked out of the current CRC funding selection process in the first round.
It was widely anticipated that the Beef CRC might struggle to retain a fourth five-year round of Federal Government financial support, being one of the nation's longest-running CRCs.
The result throws the beef industry's future research capability under a considerable cloud.
An informal advice from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research's CRC Program management this afternoon told the Beef CRC that its application had not made it through to Stage Two of the current CRC funding selection process.
Other long-term agriculture sector CRCs to fail to get through to the next round included Cotton and Forestry.
Just 10 of the 26 industry CRC applicants will go through to the next stage of funding consideration. Those include:
• Plant Biosecurity CRC
• Sustainable Heritage and Responsible Development CRC
• Invasive Animals CRC
• The CRC for Low Carbon Living
• CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Automotive Australia 2020 CRC
• CRC for Water Sensitive Cities
• CRC for Polymers
• Designing Better Cities and Regional Centres CRC.
Unless there is some unexpected change to the circumstances, the Beef CRC is now likely to look at ways and means to ensure that essential beef research and collaborations can continue beyond June next year.
The Beef CRC was established to identify the genetic and non-genetic factors affecting beef quality and other production traits of economic importance.
Funded by the Commonwealth Government, Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) are considered 'Engines of Innovation'. They pull together researchers and industry to develop new products, services and opportunities of value and benefit to the Australian economy, industry, environment and community.
Established in 1993, the Beef CRC has delivered on its promise of enabling the beef industry to reliably meet beef consumer specifications.
The first five-year phase addressed the major emerging beef issues of the early 1990s. North Asian markets were being liberalised, subsequently leading to an increase in demand for Australian beef. Consumers were also demanding a more consistent and predictable product.
These forces demanded a radical new research focus to concentrate on the genetic and non-genetic factors which influence beef quality. Industry needed to move away from a beef commodity focus to one of producing quality-driven beef products designed to meet the exacting standards of beef consumers in Australia and the 110 countries that import Australian beef.
The first Beef CRC was a complex undertaking, requiring a vision to establish and complete a comprehensive beef quality progeny test program.
It required the proportional contributions of more than 100 Australian scientists from 10 different institutions across 12 research locations in most states. It also required industry collaboration and resources on an unprecedented scale: to breed, grow, slaughter, measure and evaluate some 12,000 pedigreed progeny at a cost of $32 million.
Most importantly, the Beef CRC integrated molecular and quantitative genetics, meat science and animal nutrition and health to understand the complex interacting forces that influence growth, development and beef quality to ensure Australia’s ability to guarantee the eating quality of its beef.
Planning for the Beef CRC’s scientific program commenced in 1991 and was a result of collaboration between scientists from CSIRO, University of New England, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.
The second term of the Beef CRC was completed in June 2005.The third round CRC for Beef Genetic Technologies started on July 1, 2005, and will now conclude on June 30 next year.