Food Security Data Challenges

Our Food Security Data Challenges program is developing innovative digital infrastructure solutions to current data challenges in food security research.
Food Security,Food Security program,Food Security Data Challenges
Food Security Data Challenges
Who will benefit
Researchers, public and private sector, general public


2022 to 2023

Current Phase

In progress

ARDC Co-investment

$4.5 million

The Challenge

The ARDC is launching Food Security Data Challenges to create digital research infrastructure that promotes food security in Australia.

Long-term strategies are needed to ensure Australia has a resilient and sustainable food industry that maintains its reputation in delivering high quality food nationally and internationally.

Established under the ARDC’s Translational Research Data Challenges initiative, the Food Security Data Challenges program will support projects that develop innovative digital infrastructure solutions to current data challenges in food security research, with the aim of improving Australia’s production, consumption and distribution of safe and high-quality food.

Projects will be mission driven, national scale, collaborative, unique, enduring and integrative across technological, cultural and organisational silos.

As part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, the program seeks to develop national scale data and digital infrastructure capability aligned with national priority research programs.

The Approach

We’re taking a participatory design approach to developing projects within the Food Security Data Challenges program. We will facilitate collaborative partnerships between government agencies, industry, research institutes and other relevant stakeholders.

While the scope of projects will depend on the outcomes of the consultation/facilitation phase (February to June 2022), the ARDC will invest a total of $4.5 million on a number of projects with an indicative limit of $1 million per project, along with a number of smaller projects. ARDC standard policy requires a 1:1 co-investment ratio between ARDC’s investment and that of all the other project participants combined.

This program encompasses agriculture, genomics, health, manufacturing, nutrition, supply chain, transport, urban and regional infrastructure and waste. Initial projects will address one or several of these areas, depending on the outcome of the facilitation process.

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


Project proposals will be accepted from Australian organisations, including public and private sector, research institutions (such as universities, NCRIS facilities, publicly funded research agencies and medical research institutes), and other relevant stakeholders. Note that the ARDC will need to contract with a legal entity.

We invited interested, eligible participants to register their interest. We then hosted a series of participatory workshops and consultation meetings with registered stakeholders in order to build the collaborative scale and focus of the projects.

Through these workshops and subsequent roundtable discussions, we identified the various data challenges and technological barriers that exist within food security research priorities. Potential solutions to overcoming these data challenges were channelled into specific project proposals. Organisations that participated in the workshops and roundtables were invited to submit proposals.

Below is an indicative timeline for these activities. Please note that the ongoing impact of COVID-19 may result in significant changes over time.

  • Register of interest open 15 February to 19 April 2022
  • Participatory workshops May 2022
  • Roundtable sessions Q2 2022
  • Proposal development Q3 2022
  • Successful projects announcement Q3 2022

Target 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.

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