The Gardiner Foundation has announced it will provide $1.5 million in funding for research, development and extension (RD&E) as part of its new Challenge Round, in a contribution to addressing the dairy industry’s target of producing 15 billion litres of milk by 2025.

Research scientists and agricultural specialists from across Australia are encouraged to submit applications for imaginative, bold and focused projects that have a clear impact on the growth of the Victorian dairy industry.

Gardiner Foundation will conduct two Challenge Rounds, directly investing $500,000 per annum over three years in each. The Challenge Rounds will address Animal Performance, as well as Feedbase and Nutrition – two areas featured in the national RD&E framework for Australia’s dairy industry, Dairy Moving Forward.

Gardiner Foundation Chief Executive Mary Harney said the program is a first for the organisation and a unique opportunity for industry to collaborate and contribute to the profitable growth of the Victorian dairy industry.

“The Gardiner Foundation is committed to investing in projects that have significant impact for the Victorian dairy industry and wider community through developing and implementing programs such as the Challenge Round.

“The Challenge Round presents a valuable and exciting opportunity for research groups to collaborate on a project that’s aligned with the dairy industry’s national RD&E framework and has the ability to make a genuine impact,” said Ms Harney.

In a 2013 report commissioned by industry, it was revealed that the value of genetic gain being achieved in dairy cattle, estimated at $9.30 per cow, per annum, was substantially below what is possible; a potential gain of $23 per cow, per annum. This represents an opportunity cost of between $25 to $40 million each year to the dairy industry.

Launched in July 2014, the Animal Performance Challenge Round calls for collaborative proposals to conduct a three year RD&E program that improves rates of genetic gain through demonstrating the value of genetics and herd improvements.

Applications are due by Friday, 31 October 2014, with the successful applicant will be announced in December 2014.

An independent panel will assess applications against conventional scientific and competitive funding criteria, including significance to the Victorian dairy industry and growth target; international capability, benchmarking and connectivity; a proven track record of delivering excellence; and evidence of genuine collaboration.

The Feedbase and Nutrition Challenge Round will be launched in December 2014 and the successful applicant announced in May 2015.

For more information about the Challenge Round, visit or contact Dr Aaron Gosling, Innovation Program Manager, at Completed application forms must be sent to