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10/03/2017

Research Incubator to fund regionally-focused projects

Wine Australia is inviting researchers who are just starting their careers to apply for funding through the Incubator Initiative, a new program that will fund a series of regionally focused research projects.

The Incubator Initiative connects researchers who are still early in their careers with Australia’s wine regions to lead a co-funded locally-focused research project from priorities identified by Wine Australia’s Regional Program Partners.

Andreas Clark, Wine Australia chief executive officer, said the program will foster stronger links between wine regions and research and development, and support emerging researchers who wish to move into the grape and wine sector.

"Wine Australia funds research and marketing activities on behalf of the Australian wine sector and we’re passionate about getting the best people to work in our grape and wine community," Clark said. "The Incubator Initiative is an exciting opportunity to further develop the connections between our research communities and our unique wine regions, while providing practical solutions that are locally-focused.

"Research projects will be developed to answer specific needs in our wine regions, and researchers will work with our Regional Program Partners throughout the project and deliver the findings to grapegrowers and winemakers in the region.

"The Initiative will deliver value to the grape and wine sector and benefit early career researchers.’
The Incubator Initiative is open to all early career researchers working for an Australian-based research organisation. Early career is defined as someone who has less than five years postdoctoral or post-Masters research experience.

"Up to $20,000 is available to undertake projects identified by wine regions across Australia, with this funding matched by a co-contribution – cash or in-kind – from the research organisation where the researcher is employed.

"The Incubator Initiative is a three-way partnership between Wine Australia, regional associations and research organisations to support our grape and wine community and encourage early career researchers."

The Wine Australia Regional Program Partners have crafted a series of local research questions for project applications in the fields of viticulture, winery management and logistics. Some examples include:

• Greater Victoria: Can measurement of a plant metabolite be used as an early indication of Phylloxera infection? Contact Mark Krstic ()

• Limestone Coast: Can automated irrigation scheduling using continuous thermography and ‘in situ’ water potential sensors be used to improve vineyard water use efficiency in Coonawarra vineyards? Contact Ulrich Grey-Smith ()

• Riverland: What is the relationship between varying levels of soil mineral availability and the resultant mature bunch mineral content across a range of yields? Contact Chris Bennett ()

• SA Central: What shift change has occurred that has resulted in the newly emerging pest levels of scale and sooty mould in vineyards? Contact Lian Jaensch ()

• SA North: What practices in the vineyard lead to the production of wines that consistently win gold medals? Contact Nicki Robins ()

• Western Australia: How can small producers in Western Australia achieve economies of scale efficiencies in logistics and distribution? Contact Keith Pekin ().

Project applications must be developed in consultation with the Regional Program Partner in the region where the research will be based and aligned to the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Strategic Plan 2015–2020.

Applications close on 18 April 2017.

For more information – including the research questions open for applications, Regional Program Partner contacts, application guidelines and criteria – visit www.wineaustralia.com/research/applying-for-funding.

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WID 2017