APRIL received a total of 20 applications for the recent funding call for Innovation Projects. Thank you to those that submitted an application (or applications). A number of the applications do look truly innovative, whilst I think it is probably fair to say that other applications missed the mark in addressing the “out of the box” ideas we are looking for, that potentially will deliver smart, new approaches to tackle current and emerging issues and challenges for the Australasian pork industry.
We will start to work through the review and approval processes and hope to be able to make an announcement of the successful projects in due course.
Just a reminder that APRIL’s Commercialisation Projects scheme is open all year round. Commercialisation Projects address the issue where the path to market of a product or technology may be close and additional co-investment, that would commonly include other investors, may bring it to fruition. Such projects require a co-investment external contribution of 20% of the total cash project cost, which is negotiable. Duration is also negotiable if beyond 12-18 months. Commercialisation income is a clear imperative for the future of APRIL, hence supporting industry-applicable projects in this domain is critical.
In the new year, APRIL is planning on holding a virtual event involving a number of producer members as they present some of the challenges that they would like APRIL to address, and what makes for a successful commercialisation project proposal. The event will include opportunities for networking with the presenters and road-testing your research ideas.
I am pleased to say we have received a number of Expressions of Interest in response to the announcement last month concerning the Kickstart program. As mentioned then, the Kickstart Program is a new initiative that can provide some funding for an individual/organisation(s) to assist with the preparation and submission of a specific, targeted and agreed major external funding application (or applications) in association with APRIL and other partners. Significant external funding pools exist both nationally and internationally for potential investment.
The Kickstart Program aims to increase the number of applications that are prepared and submitted to external funding organisations that ultimately increase the funding pool to undertake more of APRIL’s activities, in alignment with APRIL’s Transformational Project and Industry Priority Project priorities.
The coronavirus pandemic continues, unfortunately, to impact on some of APRIL’s activities, albeit that the majority of projects have been able to continue thanks to the resilience and resourcefulness of some of our investigators and collaborators. I sincerely appreciate the efforts such people have gone to under trying and difficult circumstances.
APRIL remains in contact with all Project Leaders regarding impacts of COVID-19 that might affect the progress of their project(s). Unavoidably, delays/disruption for some of our projects have occurred and will likely do so into the future. These, in turn, will affect milestones and deliverables and the communication of outcomes to the industry.
Research Project Reporting
Project Leaders should be aware that being awarded a research project with APRIL comes with it a number of contractual responsibilities, namely a quarterly Progress Report and a quarterly Cash Expenditure Report (from the Project Leader’s organisation), amongst others. It is important for APRIL to be able to suitably monitor projects and be able to respond to any issues that might arise in a timely manner, e.g., requests for variations. I send a reminder out every quarter about this and will continue to do so as I appreciate that our researchers are busy. Funds will not be paid against a project without an approved quarterly Progress Report that details progress against milestones and deliverables, and a Cash Expenditure Report.
Finally, and as mentioned previously, we would welcome receiving APRIL-related information and upcoming events from our Members for possible inclusion in the Newsletter [subject to space (preferred length is 100-150 words) and content], as this as an important communication forum between Members also. Please note though that news of APRIL activities has priority, and items of an advertorial nature are not permitted.
John Pluske (firstname.lastname@example.org)