Information for applicants

​​​​​​​​​Applications closed at 5.00pm AEDT Friday 09 October 2015

Applicants should read this document prior to completing their application form.

Questions and answers and advice from the category Award sponsors are available on the Science and Innovation Awards webpage.


The 2016 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is a competitive grants programme that aims to support young people to undertake a project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue, including biophysical and social sciences, that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia's agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries. 

The Awards aim to encourage science, innovation and technology in rural industries and help to advance the careers of young scientists, researchers and innovators through national recognition of their research ideas.

The programme is coordinated by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​.

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Applications are open to young people between 18 and 35 years, who are working, employed or studying in agriculture, fisheries or forestry related industries.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  1. be between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive) on Friday 09 October 2015.
  2. be Australian citizens or permanent residents (proof required) by the closing date.
  3. be working, employed or studying in an agriculture, fisheries or forestry related industry (including food and sustainable natural resource management). Proof such as a letter of employment, scholarship or pay slip may be requested.
  4. not be employed by a sponsoring organisation in the award category they are applying for, and not have an immediate family member (eg a sibling or parent) who is employed by a sponsoring organisation in their selected award category.
  5. not be employed by an agency classified as a Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Note: Employees of entities that are classified as Corporate Commonwealth entities are eligible for the Awards, while employees of entities classified as Non Corporate Commonwealth entities are ineligible for the Awards.

Note: Corporate Commonwealth entities are legally separate from the Commonwealth, whereas non-Corporate Commonwealth entities are part of the Commonwealth (see PGPA Act, Section 11).

For further clarification on the PGPA Act and the relevant entities, visit the Department of Finance’s website and the document List of GGS, PNFC and PFC entities under the PGPA Act.

If you remain unsure about your eligibility, please contact the Science Awards Manager.

An eligible project is defined as a specific body of work, which is an innovative scientific or technological innovation or process and:

  1. is related to a significant, long standing or emerging issue in an agriculture, fisheries or forestry related industry (including food and sustainable natural resource management)
  2. demonstrates dedication to the future of rural and regional industries with a commitment to promoting science and innovation as an integral part of that future.

Applicants must submit a written proposal to undertake a specific project, for a period of up to 12 months. Full details of the proposed project should be set out in Section C of the application form (see Science and Innovation Awards).

The maximum value of the grant is $22,000 inc GST.

Projects or activities that will not be funded include:

  1. projects that are undertaken as part of any TAFE or undergraduate tertiary course of study, pre-existing PhD research projects and/or those which are funded by an industry/university scholarship where the applicant wishes to use the Science Award project funding for this purpose (projects that complement or contribute to a postgraduate course of study may be eligible provided that they are not excluded under 4(ii) and 4(iii) below).
  2. projects that are funded by other Commonwealth or state government programmes.
  3. projects that include activities that have commenced before the funding deed is executed.
  4. funding is not available to support salary costs, stipends, living allowances or other similar expenses.
  5. project funding is not available to support any corporate or administration costs of the grantee.

The following awards will be offered in 2016:

A. Industry category Science Awards

There is one Award (grant) available in each industry category. Applicants can apply in more than one category but only one Award will be made. The maximum support is $22,000 inc GST. The relevant judging panels will be advised if an applicant has applied for more than one category.

Each industry category Science Award is sponsored by a research and development corporation or industry association.

The 2016 categories and associated sponsors are:

Viticulture and oenology Australian Grape and Wine Authority
Red meat processing Australian Meat Processor Corporation
Pork Australian Pork Ltd
Wool Australian Wool Innovation
Cotton Cotton Research and Development Corporation
Biosecurity CSIRO Health and Biosecurity
Dairy Dairy Australia

Fisheries and aquaculture

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
Grains Grains Research and Development Corporation

Meat and livestock

Meat & Livestock Australia
Established, new and emerging rural industries Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Successful applicants will be expected to complete their project within 12 months of receiving an industry category ScienceAward and the execution of the funding deed.

B. Minister for Agriculture's Award

One individual industry category Science Award recipient will also receive the Minister for Agriculture’s Award, with additional funding to undertake an extended research project.

Only Science Award winners in each industry category are eligible for this Award. If you are successful you will be invited to apply for the Minister’s Award. A separate application form will be provided with additional time to complete it. Note that you are not obliged to apply for the Minister’s Award. The successful applicant will be expected to complete their extended research project within the same 12 month period.

Applicants can obtain an application form from or by contacting the Science Awards Manager (details below).

Applicants should ensure that all parts of the application form are completed and signed prior to lodgement.
Applications must be submitted to Science Awards and

  1. be submitted using the 2016 application form
  2. be lodged by 5.00pm AEDT 09 October 2015.
  3. be supplied in Word or pdf formats only.

Illegible, faxed or late applications will not be accepted. Failures in email and IT systems are not considered grounds for accepting late applications.

Failure to meet all requirements and provide all information requested will result in your application not being considered.

A. Industry category ScienceAwards

All eligible applications will be judged by an assessment panel convened by the relevant Award sponsor using the same assessment criteria. Each assessment panel is made up of representatives who demonstrate skills and experience in their industry, technical knowledge, awareness of current and emerging industry issues and the subject matter.

All eligible applications will be assessed against the following criteria and all criteria are weighted equally:

Criteria 1 - Innovative or emerging scientific issue in agriculture, fisheries or forestry related industries (including food and sustainable natural resource management)

  • Demonstrated need for the research.
  • Scientific focus or creative angle.
  • Originality of data.

Criteria 2 - Demonstration of the dedication to the future of rural and regional industries with a commitment to promoting science and innovation as an integral part of that future

  • Dedication of the applicant and research to advancing and promoting rural and regional industries.
  • Extension and engagement strategy.
  • Applicant's related industry experience.

Criteria 3 - Potential of the project to provide long-term benefits to the industry

  • Potential financial benefits of the research.
  • Sustainability of the project.
  • Industry uptake through information dissemination and communication.

Criteria 4 - Potential benefits to the applicant

  • Opportunities for career development.
  • Networking opportunities.

Criteria5 - Value for money

  • Budget.
  • Appropriateness of activities.

Applicants should ensure that all parts of the application form are complete. Applications will be assessed only on information submitted in the application.

B. Minister for Agriculture's Award

The Minister’s Award recognises one outstanding research project that extends the recipient’s industry category Award project.

Only industry category Award winners are eligible for the Minister for Agriculture’s Award. Applicants will be provided with a separate application form and additional time to complete it. Note that you are not obliged to apply for the Minister’s Award.

The criteria for this Award are the same as those for the industry category Awards. Applications will be assessed by an independent judging panel, which will recommend the recipient of the Award to the Minister for Agriculture.

All applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application for grant funding by December 2015. Details of the successful applicants will be published on the Science Awards website. Unsuccessful applicants can request feedback on their application.

If you are successful in your industry category Award, you will receive a grant of up to $22,000 (inc gst) to fund your project.

Award winners will receive complimentary registration to ABARES Outlook 2016 conference in Canberra where they will be presented with their Science Awards at the conference dinner on Tuesday 1 March 2016 in front of an anticipated 400 dinner guests. Details about the Outlook 2016 conference are available at Outlook 2016. It’s a great opportunity to meet your Award sponsor and other industry representatives. Conference registration, travel and accommodation expenses will be met by ABARES.

The Science Award programme coordinators will liaise with you and your employer (the host organisation) to draft the funding deed and arrange grant payment once the agreement is executed and a tax invoice is received by ABARES. Note that the parties to the funding agreement are the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and your employer as the grantee. It is recommended that you make your employer aware. The funding agreement must be signed by both parties before your project can commence and the grant funding paid.

A sample version of the funding agreement is available on the Science Awards website. You will have 12 months from the date of signing this document to finish your project.

Receipt of funding from this programme may result in the applicant or host organisation being ineligible for support from other government programmes. Applicants and host organisations are advised that funding may have taxation implications and that they should seek independent taxation and financial advice from a suitably qualified professional before submitting their application. GST is payable on grants and the funding agreement will include GST where applicable. Applicants and host organisations should seek advice on the legal implications of their acceptance of a grant.

As part of the terms of the funding agreement, you are required to complete two milestone reports. The first is due six months after commencing your project, which will detail the progress of your project, tasks completed, budget, timelines and outcomes.

At 12 months and the completion of your project, you will submit a final report detailing the results of your project and budget expenditure. Report templates will be provided to you by ABARES. ABARES will then provide your milestone reports to your Award sponsor.

If you are unable to complete your project within the specified timeframes, you must advise the Science Awards Manager as soon as possible on 02 6272 2260 or Science Awards to negotiate a revised timeframe.

There is no appeal mechanism for unsuccessful applicants and applications will not be reviewed. If an applicant is dissatisfied with the way an application has been handled by the department, they can contact the programme coordinator via email to Science Awards and lodge a complaint.

The complaint will then be reviewed by one or more independent areas of the department. If no resolution is achieved, they can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will usually not investigate a complaint unless the matter has first been raised with the department and the department has been provided with a reasonable opportunity to respond.

Personal information means any information or opinion about an identified, or reasonably identifiable, individual.

The provision and collection of personal information by the department in relation to this programme and any subsequent application is for the purposes of assessing eligibility of an application for the Science Awards programme and related purposes. If the relevant personal information requested is not provided, the department will be unable to assess an application’s eligibility for this programme.  In providing personal information, applicants consent to the department using the information for the above mentioned purposes and other related purposes.

Personal information may be disclosed to relevant parties engaged for the purposes of application assessment and programme evaluation, such as departmental staff, staff of the Award sponsors, judging panel members, the Minister and the Minister’s office, on the department’s website and to other Australia government agencies, persons or organisations where necessary for the above purposes.

Specifically, an applicant may be contacted by the department to discuss and progress an application for the Science Awards round. If an applicant is successful, their project details, biography and photographs will be used for promotional purposes related to the Awards, including media releases and other promotional material, inclusion on the ABARES and sponsors’ websites and through social media including Twitter and Facebook.

An applicant should also be aware that if successful, Commonwealth policy requires the department to publish information on its website about the grant, including, but not limited to:

  • Name of the recipient of the grant
  • Purpose of the grant funding
  • Amount of funding received
  • Term of the grant and
  • Location.

All disclosure of personal information will be consistent with relevant laws, in particular the Privacy Act 1988.

Personal information will be used and stored in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

For reference, current grant reporting requirements can be viewed on the department's website.

The department’s Privacy Policy can be found at Accessing information held by the department.

To contact the department about personal information or to make a complaint:

  • Telephone: Switchboard +61 2 6272 3933
  • Email: Privacy
  • Post: Privacy Contact Officer, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601.

For further information regarding the use of personal information as part of the programme, contact Science Awards.

For further information contact the Science Awards team:

Phone: 02 6272 2260 / 6272 2303
Email: Science Awards
Web: Science and Innovation Awards

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