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An update from Prof Phil Duncan, CEO, September 2023

Current status and future direction of EPIC CRC


The EPIC CRC Team were very disappointed to not move forward into the second stage of the CRC round. The nature of the feedback was that the EPIC bid relied too heavily on non-monetary benefits and social benefits, rather than new economic returns. On reflection, we have decided that we are not willing to compromise our vision for EPIC to make it more heavily focussed on monetary returns alone.


As a consequence, we do not intend to bid in the upcoming CRC round, although we may choose to do so in the future, particularly if the CRC guidelines are revised.


Since hearing of the outcome, we have had a series of very positive meetings with, amongst others, RDCs, Agriculture Innovation Australia (AIA) and private sector partners. I must acknowledge the leadership and initiative that the FRDC and ILSC took to champion EPIC CRC and facilitated the connection to AIA.


I am very happy to report that Prof Ross Thompson and I have recently met with UC Vice Chancellor, Prof Paddy Nixon and DVC Research & Enterprise, Prof Lucy Johnston, and that the University of Canberra has committed to continuing to support EPIC. We will be engaging with UC Chancellor Tom Calma, amongst others, in developing a strategy to seek support from the Commonwealth, the states and the private sector.


I would be happy to respond to any questions or concerns and am committed to keeping you updated moving forward.  

Prof Phil Duncan (HonD)

EPIC CRC will use ‘two-eyed seeing’, which seeks to “learn to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous Knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing, and to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all” Dr. Albert Marshall

EPIC CRC aims to boost the competitiveness and productivity of Indigenous agribusinesses. It will do this by addressing:

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Technical challenges that limit the growth and scaling of agricultural and fisheries businesses that are producing novel foods and ingredients

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Supply chain integration and system challenges that limit participation of Indigenous businesses within the agribusiness (including fisheries) sector

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Capability building to grow and develop innovative Aboriginal land and water businesses.

EPIC CRC, which is co-led by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from industry, government, community and academia, will:

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Generate benefits for Indigenous businesses from better protection of the knowledge and intellectual property (IP) Indigenous people hold.

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Enhance and protect biodiversity through regeneration of land and water and more sustainable land and water management.

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Address a national imbalance between Indigenous and nonIndigenous businesses and realise an industry opportunity, while achieving the powerful promise that reconciliation offers Australia.

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Support the achievement of solutions to address nation-wide and global impacts identified in the Australia State of the Environment report 2021.

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Enhance the competitiveness of export-focused businesses to differentiate themselves in the marketplace with manufactured high valued products using unique and innovative ingredients.

In doing this, EPIC CRC will support the vision of Indigenous Business Australia, ‘To advance a nation in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are economically independent and an integral part of the economy'.

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