Food Security Data Challenges

Our Food Security Data Challenges program is developing innovative digital infrastructure solutions to data challenges in food security research.
Dawn in the wheat field

The Challenge

The food industry is a strong contributor to the Australian economy. The agriculture industry – farming, fishing and forestry sectors – is forecast to be valued at $71.2 billion in 2020–21. The agriculture industry has set the goal to reach $100 billion in production by 2030 (Ag2030). To achieve this challenging goal by 2030, the agriculture sector and the broader Australian economy need to address some challenges. Long-term strategies are needed to ensure Australia has a resilient and sustainable food industry that maintains its reputation for delivering high-quality food nationally and internationally.

A food security data challenge will support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations. The goals are even more important now as they provide a critical framework for COVID-19 recovery. The goals are vital for a recovery that leads to greener, more inclusive economies, and stronger, more resilient societies.

The Approach

The ARDC established its Food Security Data Challenges program to create innovative digital infrastructure solutions with the aim of improving research into Australia’s production, consumption and distribution of safe and high-quality food. Projects are mission driven, national scale, collaborative, unique, enduring and integrative across technological, cultural and organisational silos.

As part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the program is developing national scale data and digital infrastructure capability aligned with national priority research areas.

We took a participatory design approach to developing projects within the Food Security Data Challenges program

This program will be providing data solutions in a variety of areas, including agriculture, aquaculture, antimicrobial resistance, traceability and food provenance, nutrition, food equity, and food relief.

More information on the program intent is in the full program description.


To fill the strategic gaps in digital infrastructure and address these priority areas, the ARDC co-designed projects in collaboration with key national stakeholders from the research and public sectors, industry and not-for-profit organisations.

We conducted 11 months of targeted consultations, including a series of facilitation meetings, participatory design workshops and roundtable discussions with over 300 stakeholders to identify the data challenges in Food Security Research. Through this process, we identified priority areas for national digital research infrastructure to improve Australia’s capability in food security research.


We are partnering with organisations from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in the Food Security Data Challenges program. Our partners include:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
  • Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ)
  • Geoscience Australia (GA)

  • Cooperative Research Centre for Solving Antimicrobial Resistance in Agribusiness, Food, and Environments (CRC SAAFE)
  • Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre
  • Pollination Security Cooperative Research Centre (under development)
  • SmartSAT Cooperative Research Centre

  • Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries Ltd
  • Commercial mud crabbers and seafood supply chain operators across Qld, NSW and NT
  • National Farmers’ Federation (NFF)
  • Spatial Vision
  • Spencer Gulf & West Coast Prawn Fishermen’s Association Inc.
  • Sydney Fish Market (NSW)
  • Unique Micro Design

  • Big Village Research
  • Foodbank Australia
  • GS1 Traceability Advisory Group
  • OzHarvest
  • SecondBite
  • Solutions Supporting Household Food Security in Australia through Research and Evidence (SHARE)
  • The Art of More
  • Tjindu Foundation

  • Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF)
  • Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN)
  • ARDC co-investment projects:
    • Australian Scalable Drone Cloud
    • AgReFed

  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

  • Agriculture Victoria
  • Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
  • Western Australia Government (DPIRD) Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

  • Curtin University
  • Deakin University
  • Federation University
  • Food Innovation Australia (FIAL)
  • National Measurement Institute (NMI)
  • The Australian National University Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology
  • The University of Queensland (UQ)
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of Sydney (Narrabri Research Station)
  • University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Water Research Australia.

The Outcomes

Projects in the Food Security Data Challenges program aim to build digital infrastructure solutions to support translational research. Projects will:

  • establish new or improve existing data collections
  • adopt platform solutions (or elements thereof) that enable researchers to collect or generate data, analyse those data and produce FAIR output data
  • use underpinning infrastructure to store, access and analyse data
  • create legal, governance, policy, technology, collaboration and participation frameworks to enable success.

Key Resources

Register Your Interest

Register now to hear from us about the Food Security Data Challenges program: