Industry Focus

R&D Process

APL has adopted a R&D process which facilitates the efficient use of R&D resources and maximises research outcomes for industry.  Two key components of the R&D process are the R&D Advisory Committee and the industry Specialist Groups.  The R&D process is an 18 month cycle and includes the development of research priorities which are addressed by projects delivered either internally or by industry.

  • R&D Advisory Committee
  • Specialist Groups
  • Timeline
  • R&D Priorities & Call for Tenders
  • Information for Applicants
  • National Pork RD&E Strategy


R&D Advisory Committee

The primary function of the R&D Advisory Committee (RDAC), on behalf of the APL Board, is to provide direction on the development, management, performance and outcomes of APL’s research and associated activities, through:

  • Identification of research needs and opportunities as advised by the Specialist Groups;
  • Allocation of resources to specific areas of research and research projects through the Specialist Groups; and
  • Assessment of performance of portfolios and APL’s research management.

The specific Terms of Reference for the RDAC are to ensure APL’s research and development project portfolio:

  • Reflects the Australian Government’s research priorities as appropriate to the pork industry;
  • Is developed and operates with transparency and accountability through all parts of its processes from application for research funds through to reporting of outcomes and deliverables, with appropriate safeguards for commercially sensitive information;
  • Comprises an appropriate balance of projects in terms of scope, duration and commerciality (public/private good) through appropriate apportioning of funds between early stage scientific studies and downstream pre-market launch product development;
  • Provides an accurate and comprehensive overview of the performance of the portfolio regarding alignment with APL’s Strategic Plan and progress towards milestones, budget adherence, key deliverables and investment value to the APL Board; and
  • Is responsive to specific APL Board directives and provides feedback for use in strategy development.

In addition, the RDAC ratifies membership of all Specialist Groups and membership of the RDAC is reviewed annually.

The current RDAC is comprised of:

Dr Brian Luxford (Chair) – APL Director
Ms Kathy Grigg – APL Director
Mr Geoff Starr – APL Specialist Director/Specialist Group 1 Chairperson
Dr Darryl D’Souza – Specialist Group 2 Chairperson
Dr Rob Wilson – Specialist Group 3 Chairperson
Dr Alison Collins – Specialist Group 4 Chairperson
Mr Andrew Spencer – APL Chief Executive Officer
Ms Heather Channon – APL General Manager, Research & Innovation
Mr Damien Howse – APL General Manager, Finance & Administration

Specialist Groups

Specialist Groups define strategic priorities for APL’s R&D program and are comprised of ‘expert’ participants from industry, research providers, state and federal government, and APL managers.

Specialist Groups advise the R&D Advisory Committee (RDAC) on relevant research and development in their specialist area and assist with attainment of APL strategic objectives by:

  • Utilising expertise within the Specialist Group to match R&D opportunities to APL strategic objectives;
  • Prioritising projects and the most appropriate mode of commissioning (e.g. tender, general call);
  • Alerting the RDAC to potential shortages in capability, infrastructure or resources that are impeding the pork industry’s capacity to meet research and development objectives;
  • Placing appropriate emphasis on technology transfer through recognition of the need for investment in the development of skills and infrastructure within the industry as a key element;
  • Providing advice on opportunities for the leverage of research funds to secure additional funds; and
  • Where appropriate, providing advice on the selection of research projects.

There are four Specialist Groups, each chaired by an industry representative and assisted by an APL Research & Innovation (R&I) Manager. Membership is on application and subject to annual review.

2018-19 Specialist Group Members


The R&D process is an 18 month cycle beginning in January each year.

Research priorities developed by Specialist Groups

Business Plans developed by Specialist Groups

Early March
Specialist Group Business Plans and ex ante Benefit Cost Analyses (BCA)* submitted to the R&D Advisory Committee (RDAC)

Specialist Group Business Plans reviewed by RDAC and a draft budget recommended to the APL Board
APL research priorities communicated to research providers and industry

April to July
APL Board approves full budget
APL research priorities communicated to research providers and industry
Call for tender made for new R&D programs/projects (Closes end May)

July to January
Researchers advised of tender decisions (July/August)
New R&D projects commissioned

R&D Process reviewed by RDAC

June to July
Ex post BCA* submitted to RDAC

* The Rural Research & Development Corporation methodology for BCA’s has been adopted to review all APL R&D programs/projects.