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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 2019-20, we will invest $20.2 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 for investment in projects that will commence in the following financial year (eg. the round commencing in May 2019 is for funding for the 2020-21 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 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 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, researchers are asked to develop a Full Research Proposal 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 (with final advice given once budgetary approvals have been received from the Department of Agriculture).

Important note re the 2020-21 investment period: 

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing drought, CRDC has a very limited amount of funding available to invest in projects in the 2020-21 year. As a result, CRDC is no longer issuing a call for full research proposals for projects to commence in July 2020.

The limited funds available will be invested into areas of highest RD&E priority, and CRDC's R&D team will be working with our research partners over the coming months to identify the partnership opportunities. 

If the season improves, this decision will be re-evaluated, with advice provided to our research partners.

We are very cognisant of the impact of both the climatic and financial situations, and are working closely with our research partners to ensure our cotton research community is supported. 


Scholarships & Travel

CRDC offers two scholarships for students, Postgraduate Scholarships and Summer and Honours Scholarships; and supports Travel Grants, Scientific Exchanges and the ABARES Science and Innovation Awards

Postgraduate Scholarships

In 2019-20, CRDC will be offering PhD top up scholarships of up to $10,000 per annum. Those interested in applying must expect to receive a Research Training Program (RTP, or equivalent) scholarship commencing in 2019-20.

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 RTP 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 RTP 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.

To apply: follow the application process at the bottom of this page.

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. 

To apply: contact the CRDC Project Administration team via


Applying for Postgraduate Scholarships, Travel Grants & Scientific Exchanges

To apply for CRDC postgraduate scholarships, travel grants or scientific exchanges, researchers must follow the application process below.

Please note: all research applications must be entered into CRDC’s web-based project-management system, Clarity.

Key dates:

  • October 2019 - Call for postgraduate scholarship applications 
  • TBA (subject to seasonal conditions) - Call for travel grants and scientific exchanges 


How to apply:

  1. Download the relevant application form (the Postgraduate Scholarship form, or the Travel Grants and Scientific Exchanges form), the excel budget sheet, and the Clarity access form.
  2. When you are ready to submit your application, email your completed Clarity access form to
  3. The CRDC administration team will then send you instructions on how to access and use Clarity.
  4. In accordance with the requirements of your organisation, enter your application into Clarity. Ensure you have allowed sufficient time for your administrator to review your application.
  5. Administrators, on behalf of your organisation please check the application details, and finalise for submission to CRDC as per the Clarity instructions.





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.

To apply: follow the application process at the bottom of this page.

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: follow the application process at the bottom of this page.

Major capital items

CRDC occasionally considers requests for major capital investment assistance for items greater than $10,000 in value.

To apply: contact the CRDC Project Administration team via

ABARES Science & Innovation Awards

CRDC also supports the annual Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, run by the Department of Agriculture 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), Rhys Pirie (2018), and Dean Brooks (2019). 

To apply: visit the Science and Innovation Awards page on the Department of Agriculture website. 

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.


Extension requests for CRDC-supported research reports

Requests for deadline extensions for CRDC-supported research reports are subject to a formal approval process. Requests for extensions must be completed on the following form, which is to be submitted to CRDC ( via the research organisation's administration team.

Once received, the request for extension will be considered by the relevant CRDC R&D Manager. Please note: a request for a deadline extension does not guarantee approval. CRDC will respond with the request outcome via return email. This new approach ensures that all relevant parties are aware of the request, and the potential impacts to project timelines.

Please note: an extension to a final report deadline does not allow project funds to be expended past the project end date. If a researcher requires funds past the project end date, a separate variation request will also be required.

Download the report deadline extension request form here


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. CRDC assesses IP ownership, the commercial benefits and possible commercialisation strategies on a case by case basis, subject to its core aim of delivering maximum benefit to the cotton industry.

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 proposed outcomes are clearly set out.

Any new IP developed as a result of a project (Project IP) must also be reported to CRDC. In most cases the research outcomes from CRDC investment 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 maximise 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 optimise 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 commercialisation or through further research.

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

  • Clear chain of title is important for any commercial activities
  • 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.
  • CRDC reserves the right to request assignment of copyright in works created in the course of CRDC-supported research.
  • CRDC may reserve a right of first refusal to purchase another party’s share of any IP rights that arise from a CRDC-supported project.

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

  • CRDC may request that permission to use third party IP and/or background IP rights is secured.
  • CRDC may request that a research organisation helps in ensuring that research outcomes do not infringe the rights of others.

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 organisation 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 obligated 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) used or licenced 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.  This can include, for example, using material obtained from a third party that has been provided to the research provider with restrictions regarding its use, such as those set out in a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

Where a project application involves use of TPIP or material governed by an MTA, the research provider must disclose the following information to CRDC in relation to the proposed use of that TPIP and/or material:

  • whether the proposal involves the use of TPIP;
  • if so, what restrictions relate to the use of the TPIP;
  • detailed description of the 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 and brochures, e-newsletters etc).

The clause asks all CRDC-supported researchers to send materials to the relevant CRDC R&D 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