Igniting the new horticulture generation

In the face of an ageing horticultural industry and a fast moving technological landscape, Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) recently launched its biggest industry recruitment and leadership initiative in history.

The Leadership Fund identifies and builds future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.


The Australian horticulture industry has never been so diverse and exciting. A study commissioned by Hort Innovation in 2015 suggested the industry outperforms the average business in Australia when it comes to innovation – with almost 80 per cent of horticultural producers reporting some form of innovation, whether it was new to the farm or new to the industry.

The same study, which was conducted by the University of Queensland, also showed 72 per cent of horticulture growers are aged over 50.

The Leadership Fund will provide opportunities for horticulture professionals at all stages of their careers to propel themselves along a ladder of leadership. It will provide significant resources to attract a new generation to the industry by promoting the many and varied careers paths in Australian horticulture.

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Featured Leadership Fund co-investment projects

Become involved

The process

Hort Innovation is continually seeking new investment opportunities. Ideas can be submitted at any time on Hort Innovation’s website using the concept form. The form allows Hort Innovation to understand your basic concept, with a big-picture view of the aims and outcomes rather than detailed methodology. This approach aims to protect, as far as possible, IP associated with innovative ideas, whilst capturing opportunities that can be shaped into full proposals should there be an identified alignment between the concept and strategy that guides investment in the Asian Markets Fund.

The investment analysis process involves filtering and potentially combining concepts for procurement. Once approval has been granted for investment in a concept, a Request for Proposal will be prepared, asking delivery partners (open or select, depending on size and scope) to provide a detailed submission that address key criteria. All responses will then be evaluated against the key criteria before the investment is contracted.

Do you have a concept you’d like us to consider for our Strategic Co-investment Fund Pool?
If you are interested in co-investing with Hort Innovation, your concepts are welcome and can be submitted for:

  • Asian Markets Fund
  • Green Cities Fund
  • Health, Nutrition and Food Safety Fund
  • Leadership Fund
  • Pollination Fund.

Hort Innovation’s co-investment calculator

More information

Sharyn Casey
Relationship Manager Strategic Co-investment

T 02 8295 2379
M 0414 257 616
Send an email

Bianca Cairns
R&D Manager

T 07 3198 6757
Send an email

Expert Advisory Panel

About the panel

The function of the Leadership Fund Expert Advisory Panel is to provide expert advice and oversight of the fund, including providing input into proposed projects/research and recommendations on potential methods to address future gaps or deficiencies in the existing body of research. The panel will provide impartial assessment and commercially relevant scrutiny of research proposals, fostering external confidence in Hort Innovation’s ability to rigorously assess, and will assist to provide evidence and merit-based recommendations to the Board.

Panel members

Name Organisation Location
Christopher Downs CSIRO Food and Nutrition
Jeremy Badgery-Parker Primary Principles Pty Ltd
Professor Jim Pratley Charles Sturt University
Dr Callum Wilson Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania
John Maher Ruralco Holdings Ltd
Sharyn Casey Horticulture Innovation Australia
Stuart Burgess Horticulture Innovation Australia

Featured Leadership Fund co-investment projects

Attracting new entrants into Australian horticulture – promoting careers in horticulture

Project Code: LP15006

Start Date: June, 2016

End Date: November, 2021

Service Provider: Rimfire Resources

Read more
This project will increase graduate interest in careers across the horticulture sector and build a new pool of industry leaders by drawing on the networks of young professionals to drive innovation across the sector. The project has a two-phase...
National PhD scholarship scheme – driving research innovation
Masterclass in horticultural business