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National Rural Issues

Program Overview


The RIRDC National Rural Issues program is focussed on informing and improving the policy debate by Government and industry on national rural issues in Australia. 

The goal of the program is to generate research which is characterised by its currency (that it relates to contemporary and nascent issues) and durability (that the reports have a lasting legacy). 

The program will deliver research relevant to contemporary issues which are non-industry specific and which promote a productive and sustainable rural sector. The two key principles in the operation of this research program include:

  • the active engagement of Government and industry policy and decision makers in prioritisation, scoping and delivery of research; and 
  • an emphasis on understanding and using regional experiences to inform the studies.

Investments are made in this program mindful that the benefits from the research should flow to the broader community as well as rural industries.

The program takes a global perspective and seeks to understand and learn from international trends where there is relevance to a broad set of regions and/or industries. 

RIRDC may focus investment on a number of key issues for a period of time, however themes for research under the National Rural Issues program are expected to change significantly over time in response to changes in the priorities of Government and industry.

A central role in managing national cross sectoral research

RIRDC has a unique mandate to undertake cross sectoral research into a range of significant national rural issues. 

RIRDC manages and develops collaborative research programs on issues that span across all rural industries, such as climate change, natural resource management, health safety and welfare, capacity building and leadership. Issues like the trade agenda, foreign investment, food security and land and resource competition are also being addressed by RIRDC-funded research.

RIRDC supports and participates in the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework developed through the Primary Industries Ministerial Council. This Framework is being implemented through a number of sector and cross-sector strategies. 

RIRDC is the host of the Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries and leads the Chicken Meat, Bioenergy and New and Emerging Industries strategies. The Corporation also participates in the Climate Change, Animal Welfare, Water Use in Agriculture, and Biosecurity strategies.

Program Aim

To inform and improve policy debate by government and industry on national and global issues relevant to agricultural and rural policy in Australia by targeting current and emerging rural issues, and produce quality work that will inform policy in the long term.


RIRDC is the secretariat for the Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CCRSPI). 

CCRSPI is a collaborative response to the opportunities and challenges posed by climate change for Australia’s primary industries.

CCRSPI partners are the federal, state and territory governments, the rural research and development corporations and the CSIRO.

Established in 2007, CCRSPI led the development of the climate change cross-sectoral strategy under the Australian Government's National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension Framework.

CCRSPI promotes and facilitates national collaboration across primary industries on climate change, to identify research priorities and gaps and build capacity for cross-sectoral research efforts.

More information about CCRSPI can be found at

Rural R&D for Profit

The Rural R&D for Profit programme provides grants to rural research and development corporations (RDCs) for collaborative research which enhances farm‐gate profitability and supports the continued innovation of Australia’s primary industries. As part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper the Government committed to expand the programme which is now valued at $180.5 million over eight years. The programme will conclude 30 June 2022.

The programme funds research which focuses on delivering cutting edge technologies and making research accessible for primary producers, while better leveraging coordination and cooperation between stakeholders.

Learn more about the Rural R&D for Profit programme

Key contacts and links

Program Manager

Jennifer Medway
Ph: 0458 785 905

CCRSPI Secretariat

Mark Lettfuss
Ph. 0433239611

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RIRDC Projects and Results

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Current projects

All current National Rural Issues research projects appear here. Click on a project name for more information about that project.

Completed projects

All National Rural Issues research projects completed by RIRDC appear here. Click on a project name for more information about that project.

Completed projects
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