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 and
(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 the Yarra Valley in July 2017, with updates from the 11 regional partners and discussions on biosecurity and social science research on extension. The Regional Program also supported the implementation of Wine Australia’s new Incubator Initiative, a program which supports early career researchers spending time in wine regions to conduct research and development activities.