Growing Horticulture Through Protected Cropping Innovations

At Hort Innovation, everything we do is built on our vision to create a prosperous and sustainable Australian horticulture industry on innovation.

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Hort Innovation invites innovators to participate in The Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030, contributing to one or more themes. They're looking for technologies that provide advantages or manage risks such as, climate variability, biological constraints and market opportunities.

Application Deadline
January 22nd, 2024
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Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australia's horticulture industry.

Our role is to advance Australia’s $16 billion horticulture industry by investing in research and development, marketing and trade to build a prosperous and sustainable future for growers.

We partner with Australian and international co-investors including government, leading science, technology, and consumer strategy experts to anticipate future challenges and opportunities. Our role is to capture value from the investments we make to benefit all levy payers.


Horticulture is in a great position to take advantage of the benefits of Protected Cropping systems. These systems consist of a mix of technologies that provide advantage/manage risk such as, climate variability, biological constraints and market opportunities. Examples include but are not limited to netting, poly tunnels and glasshouse systems. Horticultural crops utilising these systems include vegetables, tomatoes, nursery, melons, berries, apples, summerfruit and citrus.

The Program will invest in R&D which supports The Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030.

The investment will be structured as a program approach informed by the industry R&D strategy and comprised of 5 key investment themes as described below. The program approach was identified through extensive industry engagement, including the Protected Cropping Summit held in Melbourne in March 2023.

Respondents are invited to indicate the contribution (R&D services and Co-investment) for one or more themes, for part or all of the 7-year program. Successful respondents will be expected to engage collaboratively with other service providers to provide an integrated program of work, including the resourcing of a coordinator. A coordinator will be engaged by Hort Innovation or through a respondent after the contracting of the core program activities to fit the needs of the program.

In preparing your submission, you will need to clearly identify:

  1. Industry partners with clear problem definition and focus on impact / benefit cost.
  2. International linkages.
  3. Commercial partners and co-investment required.

Program Themes:


Sustainability is a significant opportunity for the industry. Growers need to be aware of tools and support available to monitor their production systems and identify their sustainability metrics. This will include the data capture and tools for benchmarking, particularly in the areas of Energy, Plastic, Water, Green House Gas emissions.

Tools could also support growers undertaking lifecycle assessments of their operations and products to ensure multiple stages of sustainability metrics are tracked.

Advanced Agronomy

Advanced Agronomy was identified as an opportunity to continue to improve the performance and management of crops under protected cropping systems. The advanced agronomy theme focuses on solving targeted production issues for growers. For example advancements in genetics and the development of PC centric varieties which are designed to perform in Australian PC systems, agronomic practices to improve quality and shelf life and other post-harvest quality measures.

Identification, Evaluation and Adoption of Technology

Identification evaluation and adoption of technology was seen as a high priority investment theme. Investments in this theme would understand agronomic issues, scout international research organisations for potential solutions, evaluation of solutions, identification of return on investment for growers, commercial validation, and adoption support. The focus of this investment theme will be on solving production problems, test, evaluate and de risking high tech investment for protector cropping, and support for growers to trial and implement these technologies.

We are not interested in:

  • Large capex investments e.g. building new glasshouses
  • R&D without a clear benefit for Australian Horticulture

What's in it for you?

Hort Innovation is willing to collaborate with innovative companies, researchers, universities, and technical solution providers. A successful collaboration could mean funding for the solution through the Hort-Frontier co-investment mechanism. It is important to mention that although the implemented solution must be available in Australia, the implementation can be carried out anywhere in the world.