AgriFutures Rice Program Open Call

The rice industry goal, outlined in the AgriFutures Rice Program five-year strategic plan, is to invest in RD&E to improve rice industry water use productivity and to achieve the dry rice farming practice target of 1.5 t/ML by 2030. In practice, achieving this level of productivity requires 12 – 16 tonnes of paddy rice produced from approximately 8 – 11 ML/ha of water. To achieve this a significant increase in on-farm productivity is required, focusing on increased yield potential, while at the same time maintaining premium quality access to markets, reducing costs in the production system, and improving water use efficiency.

During this Open Call, AgriFutures Australia is seeking research proposals that align with the industry goal and objectives outlined within the current  Rice Program RD&E Plan 2016/17-2021/22.

Preference will be given to collaborative, multi-institution teams that demonstrate complementary skills in research and development together with expertise in specific technologies and products.

It is expected that all relevant research outputs will be tested at grower level throughout the life of the project. Therefore, proposals must incorporate a plan that clearly demonstrates how the team will work with the industry extension program.

The proposed programs should concentrate on the objectives outlined below and ultimately work towards achieving the industry goal.

The AgriFutures Rice Program open call closes on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 5pm (AEDT).

Open call overview

AgriFutures Australia investments are driven by five-year Strategic RD&E Plans that address the needs of industries and stakeholders to ensure our priorities are industry and government driven. Our aim is to increase knowledge that fosters sustainable, productive new and existing rural industries that understands national rural issues through research and by developing sustainable government-industry partnership.

In planning and submitting proposals for AgriFutures Australia-funded projects, prospective researchers need to familiarise themselves with the application procedure, the Corporation’s overarching goals and strategies, the goals and strategies of the relevant R&D program, and the specific priorities for R&D for the year in which the proposal is being submitted.

It is anticipated that within some of the objectives outlined below, proposals will need to encompass collaboration and coordination with other research providers to ensure that the project outputs directly address the industry goal to achieve the dry rice farming practice target of 1.5 t/ML by 2030 and support rapid adoption on-farm.

Investment priorities

AgriFutures Australia welcomes Preliminary Research Proposals, including post-graduate scholarships, that address components of the following priority areas:

  • Increasing farm productivity by reducing yield variability in and between rice fields:
    • Soil type, water management, crop establishment and nutrition are key factors that influence grain yield variability within fields.
    • Development of alternative management programs for grass weed control that incorporate multiple modes of action, seedbank management and cultural controls that further delays the application of permanent water.
    • Reduce lodging across fields of high yielding rice crops.
    • Improve whole grain mill out across rice fields year on year.
    • Improve nutrient management for high yielding crops.
    • Developing metrics that can provide real-time understanding of the impact within season that allows correctional management will be important for growers to reduce the variability. It is expected that this would rely heavily on the development of a range of AgTech for the industry.
    • Consideration of how best to capture this data for it to be incorporated into a real-time decision support tool is also required.
    • It would be preferred that the program would develop a decision support tool that sits within the current industry data platform.
    • Contributions to genetic improvement (would need to be delivered in conjunction with the breeding program operated through the Australian Rice Partnership).
  • Rice productivity under delayed permanent water (DPW):
    • Development of agronomic packages that remove the yield gap between DPW and drill sowing while maintaining the reduced water use. This work must ensure maintenance of premium grain quality.
    • It has been identified that a key barrier to adoption is the concern over DPW application within existing layouts and it is expected that this project will look at how irrigation technology may be able to over-come the requirement for redevelopment of fields.
    • Contributions to genetic improvement (would need to be delivered in conjunction with the breeding program operated through the Australian Rice Partnership).
  • Extension work to improve water productivity:
    • Extension packages need to be developed that will drive the improvement of water productivity that achieves improvements relevant for each region.
    • Adoption of management practices that minimise variability of grain yield within fields. It is expected that benchmarks will be established to enable the measurement of progress toward the required target.
    • Move the average tonnes per megalitre towards to 1.5ML by 2030.
  • Increasing whole farm productivity through the development of alternative crop rotations within rice farming systems.

Proposals should clearly indicate the following:

  • How proposals will contribute to achieving the DryRice 1.5 by 2030 goal: either through more t/ha, less ML/ha or more $/t. Any research supported under this program will need to address at least one of these three factors.
  • Project benefits for rice growers.
  • The objectives and outcomes of the proposed project and the link to the RD&E objectives.
  • Who will be undertaking the majority of the work, including statistical analysis (it must be clear if new staff and/or students are to be employed to undertake the work).
  • The plan for extension of research outcomes from the project activity work, i.e. how adoption will take place within the industry, beyond the distribution of project summaries and presentations.
  • Coordination and collaboration with other research providers.
  • Where relevant, proposals should include collaboration with experts in the field which may not be located in Australia.
  • The researchers track record and deep understanding of past research in this field.

Researcher submission checklist

The researcher must complete the checklist prior to the submission being accepted:

  • If the project requires statistical analysis, has a qualified statistician been engaged to undertake project design and data analyses?
  • Is the Principal Investigator an early career researcher (less than five years since postgraduate study completion)?
  • Has the proposal been discussed with AgriFutures Australia?
  • Has the proposal been discussed with people in the Program industry?
  • Does the proposal identify if the work potentially relates to the Program objective?
  • Does the proposal clearly identify who will be undertaking the bulk of the work (might not necessarily be the Principal Investigator)?
  • Does the proposal clearly articulate what the applied outcome for industry will be? (even if it is a long-term applied project there should still be a focus on an applied outcome).
  • Does the proposal clearly outline what the potential process might be for identifying extension opportunities? (Excluding publications and opportunities for presenting the work at conferences).
  • Does the proposal take into consideration where the international expertise is in the area of research?
  • The Principal Investigator must comply with the application process within K2.

How to make a submission

AgriFutures Australia is moving to a new online project management system, K2. This system will manage all stages of project administration and will eventually replace our current system, Clarity.

Applications for this Open Call must be submitted online using the PRP application in K2.

If you had a previous account in Clarity, you can login using your Clarity user name or email address and the initial password K2pass! You will be prompted to reset this initial password when you login. If at any time you forget your password, you can also reset it via a forgotten password link on the login page.

Click here to login to K2 

If you do not have a Clarity login you must create a K2 account before submitting a proposal. To set up a secure account before submitting a proposal, contact the AgriFutures Australia helpdesk for a username and password by emailing

Usernames and passwords will only be issued while the applicable round is open.

If you require assistance, please contact

Research contracts

AgriFutures Australia uses a standard form contract for R&D projects (Research Agreement), which sets out the terms on which AgriFutures Australia will engage successful applicants to carry out the project.

Applicants must be familiar with the Research Agreement before lodging Preliminary Research Proposals (PRPs), and are advised to seek legal advice on it before lodging a PRP.

Read Research Agreement
The Research Agreement has been developed to reflect AgriFutures Australia’s statutory and other responsibilities in funding projects. AgriFutures Australia will generally not negotiate substantive amendments to any clauses of the Agreement unless:

  • It is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist that require amendment to the standard form; and
  • The applicant completes a statement of non-compliance for each of those clauses.

Applicants will be taken to have agreed to all clauses in the Research Agreement that are not referred to in a statement of non-compliance. The extent of any non-compliance will be a factor in AgriFutures Australia’s evaluation of the application.

If you require further information regarding the Research Agreement, contact Erin Hulm, Manager, Legal Services:


Researchers are strongly advised to contact the Manager, Research prior to submitting a proposal.

Lucinda Staley
Manager, Research
0448 401 717


The AgriFutures Rice Program open call closes on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 5pm (AEDT).