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Horticulture Innovation Australia Board announces four Pool 2 Foundation Funds

Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation), the horticulture sector’s new not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development Corporation (RDC) for Australia’s $9 billion horticulture industry, has announced four Pool 2 Foundation Funds as part of the new company’s two-pool funding model.

Hort Innovation invests more than $100 million in Research and Development (R&D) and Marketing programs annually and is funded by grower levies, Commonwealth Government matching funds for R&D, and external co-investment funds.

As of November 2014, Hort Innovation replaced its predecessor entity Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), and is now undertaking a major business transformation to a grower-owned company with a new operating model.

A key change to the organisation will be implementing a two-pool funding model which will allow Hort Innovation to invest in industry based R&D and Marketing projects on behalf of levy paying industries (Pool 1) and in longer term and larger strategic projects with co-investment from other sources (Pool 2).

The Hort Innovation Board has determined that four Pool 2 Foundation Funds will be established immediately, so that co-investment can be sought to undertake R&D within those funds.

Hort Innovation Chairman, Mr Selwyn Snell said the four Pool 2 Foundation Funds were chosen from research priorities derived from overwhelming advice from the consultation process that was undertaken.

“This advice has been a particularly useful process, providing the Board with the spectrum of potential Pool 2 investments,” Mr Snell said. “The next step is to validate the remaining pool of 16 potential funds through the application of economic modelling to allow the Board to decide on the final six or eight funds.”

The four Foundation Funds are:
1. Leadership and People Development Fund – The central focus of this fund will be developing future grower and industry leaders and innovators. Co-investment funds would be sought to encourage innovation, provide access to domestic and global best practice, stimulate greater interest in horticulture as a career, and establish business to business networks and linkages that expand knowledge sharing, innovation and partnership arrangements.
2. Fruit Fly Fund – This fund will formalise a large portion of the existing fruit fly research partnerships. This fund is committed to a strategic, co-ordinated and national approach to Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) and Mediterranean fruit fly (Med Fly) management.
Co-investors will be sought to further develop the capabilities to use control techniques such as Sterile Insect Technology (SIT), and managing fruit fly pests in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. This fund will span the production of sterile insects, biological, ecological and logistical prerequisites.
3. Asian Markets Fund – This fund will address the need to stimulate domestic and export growth by focussing on a better understanding of Asian Markets. Research will seek to prioritise future market access strategy and specifically address key barriers to progress. It will also assist the identification of target markets and consumer segments that will drive exponential export growth in niche premium products with higher margins.
4. Green Cities Fund – This fund will leverage the co-investment potential associated with the considerable and diverse stakeholder interest and momentum generated by the successful 202020 Vision initiative, to further investigate the key challenges associated with urban greening. Green Cities represents a significant cross-industry issue, specifically encompassing all stakeholders in the non-food sector – nursery, turf, flowers, landscaping, as well as having limited application to horticultural produce and sectors outside of horticulture such as urban planning, property developers and local government. Innovation is required to leverage the diversity and heterogeneous nature of urban environments so that these industries can respond to their different needs and target consumer groups.

“Each of these funds will work with an expert panel to scope program and project briefs that have sufficient co-investment funding support, cross-industry relevance, and the potential to stimulate and sustain growth,” Mr Snell said.

“Clear and accurate briefs are being developed to provide clarity on what potential co-investments could sit in these Pool 2 Foundation Funds. This will allow Hort Innovation management to disseminate Requests for Proposals (RFPs) around these Foundation Funds seeking co-investment partners.”

The remaining final six or eight funds will be determined by the Hort Innovation Board over the next 12 months.

For more information and to download a copy of the Strategic Co-investment Funding Pool (SCIFP) Summary, click here.
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