The Cotton Innovation Network

The Cotton Innovation Network, formed in 2012, coordinates the cotton industry’s research, development and extension (RD&E) activity and ensures a collaborative and cohesive approach to achieving our industry’s long term goals.

The Network’s role is to improve the coordination between the bodies implementing the Cotton Sector RD&E Strategy.

What is the Cotton Sector RD&E Strategy?

The Cotton Sector RD&E Strategy was developed as part of the National Primary Industries Research Development & Extension (RD&E) Framework. The Strategy sets out priorities for the sector’s RD&E organisations and industry to cooperate on a national basis to address the strategic needs of the cotton industry by: 

  • Identifying key drivers for the cotton industry and associated RD&E;
  • Defining a national set of priorities to guide RD&E investment;
  • Analysing cotton RD&E capability against the priorities; and
  • Considering and recommending options to improve cotton RD&E. 

Implementation of the Strategy is the responsibility of the Cotton Innovation Network. 

Who forms the Network?

The key participants in cotton research are all represented in the Cotton Innovation Network.

The Network includes representatives from CRDC, Cotton Australia, Cotton Seed Distributors, CSIRO, the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and universities, through the Australian Council of the Deans of Agriculture.

Member organisations fund the Network Chair and the CRDC provides secretariat support.

What does the Network do?

The Network improves the coordination of all RD&E activity to ensure the industry receives the best value for its investment and drives the industry’s research program by mapping investment in research and planning future research requirements.

As a result of the collaboration of the Network members to date, all member organisations have aligned their strategic plans with the Cotton Sector RD&E Strategy and have a better understanding of what each organisation contributes to the overall RD&E effort.

As part of its role, the Network is tasked with reviewing the Cotton Sector RD&E Strategy to ensure it remains relevant and appropriate. The last review was conducted in 2014.

The Network is also a channel for member organisations to raise challenges and promote opportunities for improved R&D coordination. The Network will help researchers better understand where their work fits into the overall priorities of the cotton industry and ultimately create better end results for growers.

A key focus: Understanding our investment in research

A major task of the Network is to map all of the industry’s RD&E activities, and review these against the five research priority areas identified within the Cotton Sector RD&E Strategy:

  1. Plant varieties
  2. Farming systems
  3. People and communities
  4. Products and markets
  5. Development and delivery

As part of this task, two studies have been conducted to collate the investment, activities, purpose and timeline of every research project in progress at two distinct points in time – 2012-13 and 2014-15.

This information aims to help the Network determine where the research effort is going, who is involved, what greater collaboration is required, and when the research will provide benefits back to the industry.

The 2012-13 study found that the total number of RD&E projects in progress during that year was 149, with a total investment value of $49 million. By comparison, in 2014-15, the number of projects had risen to 195, with a total investment value of $66 million. For more information, download the Cotton Innovation Network fact sheet.

The Vision for Cotton RD&E Capability 

In November 2016, the Network began shaping a Vision for Cotton RD&E Capability, to provide a motivating and unifying focus for on-going coordination of cotton RD&E capability by the Network members and others, and to inform Network members’ own strategies and plans.

The Network, its members and stakeholders undertook extensive work, examining where the Australian cotton industry is now and where we want it to be in the long term, the trends and expectations for changes to the workforce and the skills required for the future. Through this process, the Network imagined Australian cotton’s preferred future and the research capability the industry is going to need to achieve it.

The resulting Vision for Cotton RD&E Capability - to grow the exceptional research capability, integral to the future of Australian cotton and society - was released in June 2018. 

What’s next for the Network?

The Network is focused on sharpening the industry’s research efforts to improve the work being undertaken within the main priority areas.

The Network will continue to monitor the implementation of the RD&E strategy, looking for opportunities for improved collaboration (such as greater connection with cross-sectorial strategies for plant biosecurity, soils, water use and climate change), and coordination on overarching strategic issues (such as digital agriculture and R&D data management). 

Where can I find out more?

For more information on the cotton industry’s strategy, download the:

For more information on the Network: