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 Strengthening Australia's RD&E framework

14 June 2012

Improved indicators and a more systematic collection of performance information would enhance the assessment of rural research, development and extension (RD&E), according to the report Measuring and reporting trends relating to the performance of Australia’s rural RD&E system.

ABARES acting Executive Director, Kim Ritman, said there is a need for more information on the performance of Australia’s rural RD&E system to support strategic decision-making and improve the ability to assess the system’s performance.

“Rural RD&E is vital for the ongoing growth and improvement in the productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of Australia’s agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food industries,” Dr Ritman said.

“National spending on primary industries RD&E is estimated to be around $1.5 billion per annum and this investment needs to be focused, and used efficiently and effectively.”

The Rural Research and Development Council proposed a preliminary framework for measuring and reporting rural RD&E system performance in its 2011 Investment Plan.

ABARES further developed the Council’s framework by assessing a wide variety of input, output and outcome indicators according to their availability and suitability as measures of system performance.

“There are considerable gaps in data availability, in particular, indicators of extension and adoption activity, as well as social outcomes,” Dr Ritman said.

“Going forward, there is scope to increase stakeholder participation in developing the framework for regular reporting of rural RD&E performance indicators.”

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