Desert Knowledge CRC well on track, says independent review


A comprehensive independent review has found the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is well on track to achieve its objectives and to deliver its proposed outcomes.

“The review found that we have performed extremely well in our first three years of operation,” said Desert Knowledge CRC Managing Director, Ms Jan Ferguson.

“It said that some of our research projects are likely to lead to the development of commercial processes and products. This is an exceptional result for a public good CRC.”

The review endorsed the Desert Knowledge CRC’s priorities and found that the nationwide research network had developed strong relationships with stakeholders and a reputation for making a sensitive and productive contribution.

It commended the organisation’s “unique achievements in engaging Aboriginal people in research, an outcome that is expected to be enduring”.

The panel said the organisation’s “significant Aboriginal engagement is an achievement that no other organisation or CRC could have created” as “others undertake research but do not achieve diffusion amongst local Aboriginal communities”.

The review findings were backed up by an industry survey which found that the Desert Knowledge CRC:

  • is very well connected to end users and creates significant tangible and intangible value for them
  •  receives strong support from end users for its approach to collaboration and engagement
  •  attracts strong satisfaction from end users for its research communication, its strategies for achieving commercial outcomes from its research
  •  is strongly believed to deliver improvements to the desert economy through the development of new business.

“We could not have achieved such an excellent result without the support of our partners and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed,” said Ms Ferguson.

The Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) requires all CRCs to undergo an independent review after their first three years of operation.

The review was chaired by Mr John Childs, Director of Bush Business Consulting Pty Ltd. The review panel included Ms Janina Gawler, Principal of Cooperative Change Pty Ltd, Dr David Wood, Executive Dean at Curtin University’s Division of Humanities, Mr Jason Glanville, Policy and Strategy Director at Reconciliation Australia and Mr David Green, a member of the DEST’s CRC Assessment Panel.

The panel reviewed the effectiveness of the CRC’s governance and management structures and processes, its collaborative arrangements, research and commercialisation and education activities, its performance to date and its ability to deliver agreed outcomes.