The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is a statutory authority within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio operating under the ACIAR Act. The Centre was established by the Australian Government in recognition of the rare position Australia holds amongst industrialised countries, of having the range of climates—cool and warm temperate, subtropical and tropical—typical of the developing world. Australia also has exceptionally strong capacity in agricultural research and development, this combination offering a unique opportunity to utilise agricultural research to benefit developing countries.
ACIAR, as part of the Australian development assistance program, contributes to the objectives of advancing Australia’s national interests, promoting economic growth and increasing sustainability through assisting and encouraging Australian scientists and institutions to use their skills to develop solutions to agricultural problems in developing countries.
What we do ACIAR’s mandate is to plan, fund and manage projects across a broad range of agricultural and development areas. Approximately three quarters of the Centre’s research budget is allocated to bilateral collaborative development-related research between Australia and developing countries. The remaining quarter of the research budget is allocated to multilateral development-related research through contributions to International Agricultural Research Centres.
Projects funded by the Centre address problems of mutual interest and benefit to developing countries and Australia, through fields in which Australia, or international agricultural research centres, have comparative advantage.
Collaboration with researchers and policy makers in partner countries is integral to the development and delivery of ACIAR research programs. The Centre’s Research Program Managers identify research priorities, investigate joint research opportunities, plan and develop programs, monitor and coordinate projects for delivery of benefits, manage resources and supporting funds and organise periodic reviews. The Centre’s Impact Assessment Program supports these processes through commodity assessment and appraisal activities during project design, and through evaluation of the impact of technologies arising from projects and programs.
The Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC) is a centre within ACIAR focused on accelerating the delivery and adoption of agricultural innovations for food security.
ACIAR projects are implemented through contractual arrangements with domestic and partner-country institutions. These include national and state agricultural departments, scientific organisations such as the CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres in Australia and similar bodies overseas, and universities in Australia and partner countries. The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and private industry may also be involved in research and support of projects.