The Regional Program supports the regional extension and adoption of research and development findings in the Australian grape and wine sector. The program offers funding for demonstration trials of research findings that are structured to encourage their adoption to improve regional competitiveness and sustainability.
Funding is provided to 11 ‘Regional Program partners’, which are the main contacts to develop, deliver and report on activities completed within the Regional Program. Funding is provided to each Regional Program partner under an agreement with Wine Australia. In addition, guidelines have been developed with the Regional Program partners, which govern criteria for funding and reporting.
The Regional Program provides an important connection between relevant research and development, and locally identified grapegrower and winemaker needs. The Regional Program enables regions to deliver relevant extension with flexibility in timing and delivery format, and offers diversity in content providers. The AWRI’s role in the Regional Program is to:
(i) coordinate the process through which Regional Program partners develop their strategic priorities and AOPs
(ii) coordinate the processes through which the AOPs are reviewed, approved and monitored
(iii) assist with coordination and integration into the AWRI’s national extension delivery framework.
The AWRI assisted in coordinating the design and delivery of extension and adoption activities within the program’s 11 regions via input into each region’s annual operating plan. The annual regional partners meeting was held in Margaret River, WA in August 2019. This meeting provides an opportunity for the 11 regional partners to share results and experiences from the activities undertaken in the previous year. The Regional Program also supported the implementation of Wine Australia’s Incubator Initiative, a program that provides early career researchers with opportunities to spend time in wine regions to conduct research and development activities.