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Funding Available

CRDC invests in RD&E for the Australian cotton industry. Our RD&E investments are driven by the strategic priorities outlined in the CRDC Strategic RD&E Plan and Annual Operational Plan.

In 2018-19, we will invest $24.3 million on behalf of Australian growers and the Government into cotton RD&E,  across approximately 300 projects and in collaboration with around 100 research partners. 

We welcome applications for support from researchers, students, community organisations and growers. This section of the website is specifically designed for researchers and students, and outlines the funding opportunities available to them. If you are a cotton grower or community organisation interested in applying for funding, please see the For Growers section.

What investment is available for researchers?

The majority of CRDC’s investment funds are allocated to RD&E projects under the annual procurement round process. Projects are generally three years in duration. The procurement round commences in May-June for investment in projects that will commence in the following financial year (eg. the round commencing in May-June 2018 is for funding for the 2019-20 financial year) and researchers and research organisations are invited to apply.

CRDC provides researchers with clarity around the specific outcomes that the Australian cotton industry and Government are seeking to achieve by calling for research funding applications through Expressions of Interest (EOI). More information is available below under Applying for Funding.

A small amount of funding may also be made available by CRDC for commissioned projects, which are those CRDC specifically commissions to achieve selected objectives within the Strategic RD&E Plan. An open call is not held for commissioned projects – rather, the CRDC approaches researchers to undertake these projects according to their speciality or areas of expertise.

Funding for researchers is also available in the form of Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges. Research organisations may also be interested in hosting a university student for a Summer and/or Honours Scholarship. More information is available under Scholarships.


What opportunities are available for students?

Whenever possible, CRDC also provides funding for students who are undertaking studies or research in cotton at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. This funding is designed to encourage students to pursue careers in the cotton industry – be it in production or in research.

When funding is available, CRDC provides Postgraduate Scholarships to postgraduate (Masters or PhD) students to assist with the completion of an industry-specific project. These projects may relate to any field of cotton research related to CRDC’s strategic RD&E programs, as outlined in the Strategic RD&E Plan. 

In addition, CRDC Summer and Honours Scholarships are available to university students completing the senior years of an undergraduate degree or enrolled in an honours program. The scholarships provide them with the opportunity to work on real research, extension or industry projects in a working environment as part of their professional development.

Importantly, applications must come from researchers/research organisations rather than students, and applications from those currently supported by CRDC will be given priority (although other researchers are welcome to apply).

CRDC also supports the Science and Innovation Awards program run by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and ABARES. 

More information on all the student opportunities can be found under Scholarships

Applying for Funding

CRDC’s annual procurement round is the key opportunity for researchers and research organisations to apply for funding for research into CRDC’s priority areas.

The procurement round begins with a strategic review of each of the goals under the CRDC 2018-23 Strategic RD&E Plan (through discipline and research priority forums involving CRDC, Cotton Australia, the research advisory panels, CottonInfo and researchers) in May-June to identify the research needs and gaps.

Following this review, CRDC then releases guidelines through an Expression of Interest (EOI) call inviting researchers to submit Full Research Proposals. The EOI guidelines:

  • Identify the issue to be addressed
  • Provide a brief overview of the project (the idea here is not to be prescriptive, but to allow the researcher to bring their ideas to the project and enable innovation)
  • Define the outcomes to be achieved
  • State any outputs to be delivered
  • Outline selection criteria to be met for the successful awarding of the project.

The EOI guidelines may also provide guidance as to how much CRDC is prepared to invest in a particular area to achieve that outcome.

Once the EOI guidelines are prepared (June-July 2018), researchers will be asked to develop a Full Research Proposal (August 2018) to address the guidelines. These proposals will then be evaluated by the Cotton Australia panels and CRDC’s R&D Managers, and recommendations made to the CRDC Board.

The CRDC Board will determine the successful projects, and preliminary advice will be provided to researchers in early 2019 (with final advice given once budgetary approvals have been received from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in May 2019).

How to apply

To apply for CRDC research funding, researchers must follow the application process below:

  • Step 1: Download the Expression of Interest Guidelines the Full Research Proposal (word document and excel budget sheet) and Clarity Access Form.
  • Step 2: When you are ready to submit your application, email your completed Clarity access form to
  • Step 3: The CRDC research team will then send you instructions on how to access and use Clarity.
  • Step 4: In accordance with the requirements of your organisation, enter your FRP into Clarity. Ensure you have allowed sufficient time for your administrator to review your FRP.
  • Step 5: Administrators, on behalf of your organisation please check that the FRP and Clarity details are the same, and finalise for submission to CRDC as per the Clarity instructions.

The current round

Applications for EOIs under the 2019-20 procurement round are now closed. Applications for the 2020-21 procurement round will open in August 2019. 

Key dates: 2019-20 round

  • May-June 2018 - CRDC hosts discipline forums/research priority forums
  • June-July 2018 - CRDC prepares EOI guidelines
  • 28 August 2018 - CRDC releases EOI guidelines and calls for Full Research Proposals (FRPs)
  • 12 October 2018 - Deadline for FRPs to be submitted to CRDC
  • October 2018 - CRDC R&D team reviews FRPs
  • November-December 2018 - Cotton Australia panels review FRPs
  • January 2019 - Recommendations made to CRDC Board
  • February 2019 - CRDC Board decision
  • March 2019 - Preliminary advice given to applicant
  • May 2019 - Approval of Parliamentary Budget Statement by Minister
  • May-June 2019 - Final advice to applicant; contracts sent
  • 1 July 2019 - Commencement of research contract and funding support (contract will outline deadlines for progress reports and final reports)

Important information before you apply

All funding proposals received by CRDC must align with one or more of the CRDC’s priority research areas, outlined in detail in the CRDC Strategic RD&E Plan 2018-23.

Researchers interested in applying for funding are strongly encouraged to read the CRDC’s Researchers' Handbook. Updated annually, the Handbook is a key resource for researchers and outlines key information including dates, the application process, funding available, the payment, evaluation and reporting processes, contract obligations and the CRDC’s intellectual property policy. The handbook summarises key components of the CRDC Deed, which is the formal agreement that is entered into by each researcher/organisation in working with CRDC.


CRDC offers two scholarships for students: Postgraduate Scholarships, and Summer and Honours Scholarships.

Postgraduate Scholarships

When funding is available, CRDC provides Postgraduate Scholarships to postgraduate (masters or PhD) students to assist with the completion of an industry-specific project. These projects may relate to any field of cotton-research related to CRDC’s Strategic RD&E Plan.

The Postgraduate Scholarships are valued at approximately $40,000 pa, which includes a student stipend of $34,000 pa (inclusive of an APA or other funding) and an operating budget of $6,000 pa. Operating can be increased dependent on the project.

To be eligible for a CRDC postgraduate full scholarship or top up of an APA scholarship, candidates must:

  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Undertake postgraduate study
  • Receive acceptance at a recognised institution
  • Be interested in working in the Australian cotton industry to pursue postgraduate studies relating to the cotton industry or its related activities

Applicants are strongly advised to seek CRDC and industry input before compiling submissions.

Summer and Honours Scholarship

The Summer and Honours Scholarship program provides students with an opportunity to work on a real project in a working environment as part of their professional development. The scholarships enable university students to conduct short research, extension or industry projects under the direct supervision of a researcher or extension officer from either the public or private sector.

All CRDC research partners, researchers or extension officers may apply for CRDC Summer and Honours Scholarship funds, and the scholarships are open to all university students of a high standard who are completing their senior years of an undergraduate degree or enrolled in an honours program.

Students can undertake their project at any location but must be under the direct supervision of the applicant.

Proposals will be assessed on their alignment with CRDC’s research priorities and objectives and the capacity for outcomes to be achieved within the specified time frame. Applicants are encouraged to discuss proposals with the relevant CRDC R&D Program Manager before submission. 

Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges

CRDC recognises the success of the Australian cotton industry is directly attributed to the people that work within it. To support the capable and connected people driving the cotton industry outcome, CRDC offers Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges.

Travel Grants

Travel applications support current industry researchers and personnel to attend national or international conferences or events which allow them to present their research and/or build their knowledge and professional networks.

Funding of up to $2,500 is available to cover transport, accommodation and event registration fees. The proposed travel must be relevant to the Australian cotton industry, and CRDC’s preference is for research organisations to co-fund travel.

Scientific Exchanges

Scientific exchanges provide opportunities for industry researchers and personnel to widen their research perspective, gain a broader research experience, build new knowledge, foster scientific collaboration and stimulate Australian cotton research.

Funding of up to $5,000 is available to cover travel and accommodation costs of the identified exchange candidate. The proposed exchange must be of benefit to the Australian cotton industry, and CRDC’s preference is for research organisations to co-fund the exchange.

To apply for Travel Grants or Scientific Exchanges or for more information, email


Science & Innovation Awards

CRDC also supports the annual Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, run by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and ABARES. Open to young innovators aged 18-35, the Awards program offers recipients up to $22,000 to fund an innovative research project that will benefit Australia's cotton industry. 

CRDC supports one cotton industry recipient each year. Recent recipients include Dr Alison McCarthy (2014); Yvonne Chang (2016), Dr Priscilla Johnston (2017), and Rhys Pirie (2018). Further information and application forms are available from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Reporting Templates & Guidelines

Reporting is an important part of working with the CRDC. If you are successful in securing funding your contractual arrangement will outline your reporting requirements, such as progress reports, final reports, travel reports, annual financial statements and IP registers. A summary of the CRDC’s required reports is as follows:

Progress Reporting

For all CRDC-funded research projects, a progress report is required every six months for the life of a project (the only exception is the last six months, when a final report will be submitted). For Postgraduate Scholarships, the supervisor of the scholarship recipient is to provide a summary report on the progress of the recipient as part of the progress report.

Download the progress report template here.

Final Reports

At the conclusion of a CRDC-funded research project, the researchers must provide a final report (an electronic copy) to the CRDC by the date specified in the contract or within 60 business days after the end of the project. Final reports will be published on the Inside Cotton website unless deemed to be Commercial In-Confidence or confidential. In this instance, a version suitable for public release will be required.

For Postgraduate Scholarships, students must email a copy of their plain English summary when they submit their thesis for examination. Once approved, a bound copy of the thesis is to be provided to CRDC together with an electronic copy of the document.

Download the final report template here.

Travel & Scientific Exchange Reporting

Reporting required for Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges is dependent on the nature of the travel. CRDC may require acomprehensive report which will be communicated to the applicant at the time of investment approval. In most cases, a report reviewing travel and/or conference participation is due within 30 business days of completing the travel and/or conference attendance.

Download the travel report template here.

Annual Financial Statements

CRDC requires researchers to provide an annual financial statement for each project by the date specified in the contact or within 40 business days of the end of each financial year. The statement must be in the format provided by CRDC and authorised by an independent accounting officer. If required, this may be accompanied by a carry forward request and/or budgetary transfer.

Download the annual financial statement template.

Reporting and CRDC’s Schedule of Payments

CRDC generally makes quarterly payments tied to reporting milestones. Frequency of payments will now depend on the duration of each contract, type of investment and any special conditions contained in a grant of agreement. CRDC makes four investment payments in a financial year for a research project, one every three months. Importantly, CRDC does not make payments until it has received and approved milestone reports from the researcher. CRDC shall withhold final payments until the final report, final register, intellectual property and final financial statements (or a satisfactory equivalent as determined by CRDC) has been received and approved by CRDC.

CRDC Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

CRDC’s IP management policy aims to facilitate the efficient and effective development and adoption of RD&E results to achieve maximum benefits to the cotton industry. With a focus on the rapid adoption of RD&E results, CRDC strategies relating to IP ownership and technology commercialisation are determined on an individual project basis following consultation with research providers.

Project-level IP register

An IP register is established for each project application. It is vital that all background IP brought into a project and any new IP proposed to be developed throughout a project (Project IP) be reported to CRDC. In the majority of cases the research outcomes from CRDC investment will result in technical knowledge rather than the creation of new technologies that require specific IP protection and commercialisation. To this end, an adoption pathway based on grower engagement and presentation of outcomes in a 'grower ready' form is paramount.

In a small number of cases where projects do have significant, identifiable Background IP and potential Project IP, a more detailed analysis, valuation and risk assessment will be conducted by CRDC and an IP position negotiated with the research provider(s). 

CRDC’s seven guiding principles for IP management

1. IP Management is integral to RD&E investment decisions:

  • CRDC will seek to manage the IP identified in research projects in such a way as to maximize the benefit to the cotton industry, which will include an assessment of the proposed adoption pathway for each relevant project.

2. IP Management is a means to an end, not an end in itself:

  • IP management is the process used to identify and establish rights in IP, appropriately protecting the IP and thereafter to optimize the benefits from IP through exploitation.
  • CRDC will adopt a flexible and adaptable approach to IP Management and IP Ownership, including seeking novel models of co-ownership where industry benefit is maximised.

3. IP Management facilitates decision-making on pathways for impact:

  • CRDC’s research procurement process will require an adoption pathway proposal.
  • CRDC requires an exploitation plan to manage the impact of Project IP or Scholarship IP and to assess the benefits of disseminating IP through a public domain, Australian cotton industry domain, by commercialization or through further research.

4. IP ownership and use rights must be carefully considered:

  • Ownership and use of IP has inherent rights and obligations, including the IP owner’s right to secure and benefit from the IP.
  • CRDC will ensure appropriate procedures are in place to safeguard the copyright and confidentiality of another party’s IP.
  • Research providers may be required to demonstrate that they have appropriate IP policies and procedures in place to help protect CRDC IP.

5. “Freedom to operate” can minimise barriers to RD&E investment:

  • IP management includes the identification of existing IP rights and the establishment of freedom to operate.
  • CRDC reserves the right to request assignment of copy right in works created in the course of CRDC-funded research.
  • CRDC may reserve a right of first refusal to purchase another party’s share of any IP rights that arise from a CRDC -funded project.

6. “Rights to publish” is part of a broader IP management strategy:

  • CRDC acknowledges that public research organisations may require information from RD&E investments to be published as part of their purpose or to allow students to complete their thesis.
  • CRDC will ensure appropriate procedures are in place to manage IP owner’s rights and confidential information when assessing publications.

7. IP Risk Management Strategies are essential to protect IP rights and benefits:

  • Each organization responsible for the generation and management of IP should develop and implement IP risk management strategies.
  • Effective IP risk management should strike an appropriate balance between the merits and risks of protecting and granting access rights to IP.
  • CRDC will apply appropriate risk management assessment to IP management.

Adoption Pathway Proposal

Maximising the benefits from research comes not only through the creation of innovative technology and knowledge but also through careful consideration and planning of how research outcomes will be communicated and adopted. In the context of IP, every research provider is obliged to provide a draft proposal (an Adoption Pathway Proposal) for the exploitation of any IP generated by a project.  The Adoption Pathway Proposal must also contain a proposed exploitation plan, which describes the research provider’s proposal for the exploitation of any project technology generated.

Third Party IP Guidelines

Any Third Party IP (TPIP) licensed by the research provider must be used in a manner which is consistent with CRDC's objectives, namely to develop IP for use and benefit of the Australian cotton industry.

Where a project application involves use of TPIP, the research provider is obliged to disclose the following information to CRDC in relation to the proposed use of TPIP:

  • whether the proposal involves the licensing of any TPIP;
  • if it does, any background conditions which relate to the use of the TPIP;
  • detailed use of TPIP within the Adoption Pathway Proposal (including the proposed exploitation plan) for any project technology IP.

Where no agreement for use of TPIP has been established prior to the project application being made to CRDC, CRDC should be contacted prior to the application being made.

For more information, please refer to the CRDC Researchers' Handbook and the CRDC IP Policy and Management Plan.

CRDC brand

CRDC introduced a new corporate identity system in July 2018. CRDC's research partners are able to download the CRDC brand and the guidelines from this page, to use on materials and publications that have been produced through CRDC-supported research projects. Use of the brand is governed by the guidelines, and the CRDC publications clause. 


Download the CRDC brand pack   Download the CRDC logo guidelines



CRDC publication clause

The CRDC research deed contains a publication clause, relevant to all who receive funding from CRDC – be it for research or scholarships.

The clause relates to approval and acknowledgement of CRDC in all publications (including media releases, journal articles, conference papers, research posters, social and online media, video interviews, dedicated publications andbrochures, e-newsletters etc).

The clause asks all CRDC-supported researchers to send materials to the relevant CRDC R&D Investment and Impact Manager before publishing, for a number of reasons: to check for accuracy, to provide helpful suggestions, to ensure no IP or commercialisation issues, and to provide content for CRDC’s Spotlight magazine. It also requires researchers to acknowledge CRDC’s funding, so that the two key CRDC stakeholders – cotton growers and the Australian Government – can see where funds are being spent.

For more information on the publication clause, and the acknowledgement required, download the CRDC Researchers' Handbook