Our core business is brokering and funding research partnerships between Australian scientists and their counterparts in developing countries. In doing so, we typically invest in:

  • research projects enabling both individual researchers and institutions to learn by doing
  • extension and communication activities to share research findings widely
  • improving uptake through communicating technical information in practical ways
  • applied training for developing-country farmers and researchers
  • building capability in research, policy analysis and formulation in partner countries.

ACIAR was established in 1982 via the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Act (ACIAR Act), described at the time as ‘An Act to encourage research for the purpose of identifying, or finding solutions, to, agricultural problems of developing countries’. It was updated by the ACIAR Amendment Act 2007 as part of the Government’s response to the Review of Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Officeholders (Uhrig report).

Funding

Approximately 70 per cent of ACIAR’s research budget is allocated to bilateral collaborative development-related research between Australia and developing countries. The remaining 30 per cent of the research budget is allocated to multilateral development-related research through contributions to International Agricultural Research Centres.

Partnerships

Collaboration with researchers and policy makers in partner countries is integral to the development and delivery of ACIAR research programs. ACIAR’s Research Program Managers (RPM’s) identify research priorities, investigate joint research opportunities, plan and develop programs, monitor and coordinate projects for delivery of benefits, manage resources and supporting funds and organise periodic reviews. ACIAR projects are implemented through contractual arrangements with domestic and partner-country institutions.

Measurement

The Centre’s Impact Assessment Program supports these processes through commodity assessment and appraisal activities during project design, and through evaluation of the impact of technologies arising from projects and programs.

Fellowships and capacity building 

ACIAR also provides training and development activities, including fellowships and support for training courses, as well as training provided within research projects, to help build capacity in research application and implementation in partner countries.

  • The John Allwright Fellowship scheme is funded by ACIAR to allow developing country agricultural scientists to gain further tertiary qualifications from Australian universities.
  • The John Dillon Memorial Fellowship provides leadership training in Australia for emerging leaders in developing country agricultural organisations.

Communicating results

The Communications Program ensures that the results of research and development activities are widely disseminated, through publications and other media, to increase the likelihood of research adoption beyond the scope and life of a project.