You are here


Funding Available

CRDC invests in research, development and extension (RD&E) projects for the Australian cotton industry. Our RD&E investments are driven by the strategic priorities outlined in the CRDC Strategic Plan and Annual Operational Plan.

In 2017-18, we will invest $22.4 million on behalf of Australian growers and the Government into RD&E, and we will work closely with research providers to ensure the needs of both growers and the Government are met.

We welcome applications for funding 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 funding is available for researchers?

The majority of CRDC’s budgeted R&D funding is available to researchers and research organisations through the annual CRDC Procurement Round. The Procurement Round commences in May each year for funding for projects in the following financial year (eg. the round commencing in May 2017 is for funding for the 2018-19 financial year).

More information on the CRDC Procurement Round, including key dates and the application process, can be found under Applying for Funding.

A small amount of funding may also be made available by CRDC for Commissioned Projects, which are those the CRDC specifically commissions to achieve selected objectives within the Strategic 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. These projects are funded at CRDC’s discretion.

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, Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges.

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 R&D programs: farmers, industry, customers, people and performance. 

In addition, 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 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s (RIRDC’s) Horizon Scholarship program, sponsoring at least one first-year undergraduate student studying a degree related to agriculture to undertake the program.

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 commences with a strategic review to identify the research needs and gaps under each of the CRDC 2013-18 RD Strategic Plan themes. Following the review, CRDC will release guidelines through an Expression of Interest (EOI) call inviting researchers to submit Full Research Proposals. 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 (with final advice given once budgetary approvals have been received from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources). 

Funding Application Process

To apply for CRDC research funding, researchers must follow this five step application process:

  • Step 1:  Download the Expression of Interest (posted on this page in August each year)
  • Step 2: Download the Clarity Access Form. Complete this form and email it to
  • Step 3: On completion and submission of your Clarity Access Form, the CRDC research team will send you a Full Research Proposal (FRP) template for you to complete, and instructions on how to access and use Clarity. 
  • Step 4: Once your FRP is finalised 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 detail are the same, and finalise for submission to CRDC as per the Clarity instructions. 

The CRDC procurement round

Applications for EOIs under the 2018-19 procurement round have now closed. Applications for the 2019-20 procurement round will open in August 2018.

Key dates: 2018-19 round

  • 31 May 2017 - CRDC hosts Strategic Review workshop
  • June-July 2017 - CRDC prepares EOI guidelines
  • 18 August 2017 - CRDC releases EOI guidelines and calls for Full Research Proposals (FRPs)
  • 3 October 2017 - Deadline for FRPs to be submitted to CRDC
  • October 2017 - CRDC R&D team reviews FRPs
  • November-December 2017 - Cotton Australia panels review FRPs
  • January 2018 - Recommendations made to CRDC Board
  • February 2018 - CRDC Board decision
  • March 2018 - Preliminary advice given to applicant
  • May 2018 - Approval of Parliamentary Budget Statement by Minister
  • May 2018 - Final advice to applicant; contracts sent
  • 1 July 2018 - 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 Plan 2013-18.

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 and stipends 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.

All research applications must be entered into CRDC’s web-based project-management system, Clarity. In order to submit a proposal, you must first set up a secure account by completing the Clarity Access Form and returning it via email to A username and password will then be assigned.

Student Scholarships

CRDC offers three scholarships for students: Postgraduate Scholarships; Summer and Honours Scholarships; and Horizon Scholarships – as outlined below.

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 R&D programs: farmers, industry, customers, people and performance.

The Postgraduate Scholarships are valued at $36,000 pa, which includes a student stipend of $30,000 pa and an operating stipend of $6,000 pa. CRDC will also consider providing an additional six months of stipend support for PhD projects.

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

  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Undertake postgraduate study
  • Receive acceptance at a recognised institution
  • ​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. 

Applications for the 2017-18 Summer and Honours Scholarship program are now being accepted by CRDC. Please complete this form, and submit it to Applications close Friday 3 November 2017. 

Horizon Scholarship

CRDC supports the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s (RIRDC’s) The Horizon Scholarship program, sponsoring at least one undergraduate student studying an agriculture-related degree to undertake the program.

The program provides a $5,000 bursary to the student each year for the duration of their degree along with professional development, mentoring, industry placement and networking opportunities.

To be eligible for the Horizon Scholarship students must be entering their first year of university, studying a degree related to agriculture, such as:

  • Agricultural Science
  • Agribusiness
  • Rural Science
  • Livestock/Animal Science
  • ​Veterinary Science

Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of their commitment to a career in agriculture, as well as their leadership potential and high school academic record.

Applications for Horizon Scholarships are managed by RIRDC and open in November each year, closing at the end of January. To apply, you must complete and submit an application form and read the Horizon Scholarship terms and conditions. 

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.

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.

To apply for Travel Grants or Scientific Exchanges or for more information, contact the CRDC on 02 6792 4088 or email

Reporting Templates & Guidelines

Reporting is an important part of working with the CRDC. If you are successful in securing funding – be it under the CRDC Procurement Round, for a Travel Grant or a Scholarship – your contractual arrangement or the CRDC Deed will outline your reporting requirements, such as biannual progress reports, final reports, travel reports and annual financial statements.

The below is a summary of the CRDC’s required reports – more information can be found in the Researchers' Handbook.

Progress Reports

For all CRDC-funded research projects, a progress report is required every six months (in May and November) 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 May 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 (three hard copies and one electronic copy) to the CRDC within 60 business days. Final reports will be published on the CRDC website unless deemed to be Commercial In-Confidence or containing IP.

Download the final report template here.

The new Metadata system for keywords

CRDC has adopted a consistent system for capturing keywords and other important data about the information contained in final reports. This ensures all work presented by researchers in final reports can be efficiently stored and readily discovered. Each final report presented to CRDC is to be accompanied by a completed metadata file. Importantly, the CRDC system for metadata capture is compliant with current Government guidelines and requirements for web content accessibility.

Download the CRDC metadata template here.

Postgraduate Scholarships

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 and the metadata file.

Summer Scholarships

All CRDC-funded summer scholars are required to complete a final report at the conclusion of thier placement, in collaboration with their host organisation. 

Download the summer scholarship report template here

Travel Report

Reporting required for Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges is dependent on the nature of the travel. CRDC may require a comprehensive 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 60 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 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.

Download the annual financial statement template.

Reporting and CRDC’s Schedule of Payments

CRDC makes four investment payments in a financial year for a research project, one every three months. Importantly, CRDC does not make milestone payments until it receives approved milestone reports from the researcher. CRDC shall withhold final project payments until the final report, final register of intellectual property and final financial statements (or a satisfactory equivalent as determined by CRDC), has been received and reviewed by CRDC.

CRDC Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

CRDC’s IP management policy aims to facilitate the efficient and effective development and adoption of R&D results to achieve maximum benefits to the cotton industry. With a focus on the rapid adoption of R&D 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 minimize 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.