AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horse Program Open Call

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

AgriFutures Australia is inviting applications from suitably qualified research providers for projects relating to the AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horse Program.

The public open call for research proposals commences Monday, 26 November 2018 and closes 5pm (AEDT) Wednesday, 13 February 2019.

Open call overview

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 for which the proposal is being submitted.

We also welcome and encourage your collaboration with other research providers to build the critical research mass necessary to meet our objectives.

Proposals should clearly indicate:

  • Who will be undertaking the majority of the research including details of new staff or students that may be engaged in project delivery
  • Who will be undertaking the statistical analysis (if required) including their expertise
  • What the extension activities are for outcomes of the project (beyond distribution of summaries and conference presentation)
  • If the proposal is to undertake R&D that won’t have immediate outcomes that can be applied by industry then thought should be given to what the extension activities might be when the R&D is able to be applied and who the stakeholders are – this will help frame the direction for the project)
  • Where appropriate, proposals should include collaboration (minor or major consultation) with the international experts in the field, which may not be located in Australia

R&D objectives

AgriFutures Australia welcomes Preliminary Research Proposals, including post-graduate scholarships, that address one or more of the strategies within the six R&D objectives for the industry, and outlined in the Interim Thoroughbred Five Year RD&E Plan 2017-2022.

2018/19 Research Proposals

AgriFutures Australia reserves the right to make the final decision on investment. Any proposals that don’t address the stated priorities must have been discussed with AgriFutures prior to submission otherwise they may be rejected or deferred at the discretion of AgriFutures.

Where numerous proposals are received to address a single priority during an open call, AgriFutures Australia will undertake a preliminary assessment to determine which proposals will progress to the Advisory Panel for review. Proposals that are deemed to insufficiently address the priority will be rejected or deferred at the discretion of AgriFutures Australia.

To improve industry engagement with the research, and ultimately improve the adoption of research outcomes, contracted projects may have a steering committee selected by AgriFutures Australia.

Within the Thoroughbred Horse Program Five Year RD&E Plan there is particular interest in, but not limited to, projects that address the following strategies:

Objective 1: Continue to improve breeding outcomes and foal health and development. 


  1. Improvements in breeding outcomes and foal health and development by addressing conditions that adversely affect these outcomes at the individual horse and population levels.


Objective 2: Reduce the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites in horses.


  1. Reduce the impact of diseases that affect horse health or performance
  2. Reduce the impact of diseases of horses that affect human health
  3. Reduce the impact of parasites and parasite related conditions on horse health.


Objective 3: Improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses and enhance the sustainability of the industry.


  1. Develop research led strategies for addressing conditions or events that impact health, welfare or the environment.

Objective 5: Industry planning, economic benefit studies and market research.


  1. Measurement of the economic benefit of the thoroughbred breeding and racing sectors
  2. Understand domestic and export market conditions and trends
  3. Review RD&E Plan priorities to ensure the Plan matches current industry needs.


Objective 6: Reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training.


  1. Reduce the impact of injuries and breakdowns on horse health or performance
  2. Develop improved methods for measurement of forces operating on musculoskeletal structures in training and competing horses.


Key research focus areas 

Specific priority areas of research relevant to the 2018-19 call for research proposals include:

  1. Research leading to the development of a highly effective vaccine against Strangles infection in horses and the identification S equi subsp equi carrier-state horses.
  2. Research leading to the diagnosis and/or reduction of pre-term losses in mares including the possibility of an industry-wide abortion investigation programme.
  3. Research leading to the early diagnosis of pregnancy in mares.


Proposals should clearly indicate the following:

  • Economic evaluation of the intervention or practice change or other relevant cost analysis
  • Project objectives and outcomes of the proposed project and the link to the R&D 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. beyond distribution of summaries and conference presentations; where relevant, proposals should include collaboration with experts in the field which may not be located in Australia; and the researcher’s 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 Clarity.

Submitting a Preliminary Research Proposal

AgriFutures Australia business with research providers is facilitated by the online project management system Clarity. This system manages all stages of project administration.

Preliminary Research Proposals must be submitted online using Clarity.

Request new user: Clarity

Users must create a Clarity 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:

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

For further assistance with navigating Clarity during your project, refer to the Clarity resources and templates in the first instance.

Submit a proposal: Clarity login

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 Louise Heaslip, General Manager Business and Finance:


It is strongly advised that researchers contact the Program Manager prior to submitting a proposal.

Michael Beer
General Manager, Research & Innovation

The AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program open call closes 5pm (AEDT) Wednesday 13 February 2019.