Pioneering the future of Australian grains industry

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cicada Innovations are on a mission to find and help innovators translate deep tech solutions into commercial impact all for the grains industry.

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Australia's $87 billion agrifood industry is an economic powerhouse.

Renowned for high-quality produce and global reach. Yet, hidden beneath the fields and farmlands lie crucial challenges. From unpredictable weather patterns to evolving consumer demands, the industry is ripe for reinvention.

Australian agriculture needs more than just tractors and seeds. It needs a range of deep tech solutions, as diverse and adaptable as the challenges themselves. Encompassing innovations such as Nano Sensors, Earth Observations, Biotech, Biologicals, Robotic Automation, Artificial Intelligence, New Materials, and Sustainable Chemicals, deep tech can significantly contribute to achieving Net Zero in agriculture, driving plant innovation, and providing solutions for soil and water management.

The grains sector is rapidly transforming, driven by the need for innovative technologies amid growing food demands and net zero goals. It's crucial to unlock the industry's full potential.

The grains industry grapples with challenges including:

Climate & Sustainability

In the agriculture industry, including the grains sector, achieving Net Zero emissions is a critical goal. The sector needs to transition to green and renewable energy sources to reduce its environmental footprint. With an increase in consumer demand for safe, sustainable and ethically produced food, growers are in need of innovations that can maintain the clean, green quality reputation of Australian grains.

Seed & Plant Innovation

To elevate productivity and efficiency, the industry needs innovation in seed architecture, plant physiology, and biochemistry. Improving soil water storage and precise input allocation will enable growers to refine crop selection, combat pests and diseases more effectively, and enhance crop nutrition.

Market Volatility

Geopolitical trends and trade policies are reshaping factors like input costs, labor shortages, and tariffs. By harnessing high-quality data, breeding to meet end-user demands, and employing strong classification systems, the industry can access new markets. This strategy maintains competitiveness and captures value through differentiation, navigating global market challenges effectively.

Supply Chains

Seasonal crop size variations challenge logistics, segregation, and exporting. With biosecurity breaches and supply chain disruptions, innovations are essential not just on farms but also in transport, handling, and inventory management, aiming for a low environmental footprint. These steps are crucial for efficient and sustainable grain delivery.

Our two-stage program offers you a pathway from idea to market traction.

Stress test your business model in agtech

Over an intensive two days, Grains Elevate will see you dive into the world of entrepreneurship and commercialisation, including workshops, founder stories, and panel discussions, all designed to help you:

  • Gain deeper insights into scaling a deep tech solution into the ag industry

  • Validate your market and potential customers

  • Refine your value proposition to meet the industries needs

  • Improve your pitching and communication

Achieve traction in agtech market

Grains Fast Start is a 6-month coaching program where you set the goals and we help you to get there. We help you to adapt your deep technology to solve challenges in agriculture and the grains industry. Our expert-in-residence will guide and coach you on the agriculture value chain and how to translate and integrate your technology for commercial adoption. Outcomes from previous Fast Start participants have included:

  • Establishing new partnerships with the grains and ag industry

  • Increasing agriculture industry engagement

  • Getting investment ready

Every team's pathway and goals are different, so the Fast Start program is tailored to precisely what you are your team are seeking to achieve.

Meet the facilitators

Learn all facets of building a deep tech business from founders, operators and investors.

Brooke Sauer

Expert-in-Residence Agriculture

Rob Hulme


Hebbat Manhy

Head of Technology, Cicada Innovations

Tim Parsons

Expert-in-Residence, Cicada Innovations

Sian Priest

Director of Communications & Community, Cicada Innovations

Sally-Ann Williams

CEO, Cicada Innovations

AgTech Companies we've supported

The GRDC’s purpose is to invest in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.

They invest in RD&E projects to deliver new and improved varieties, farming practices, technologies and capability to the Australian grains industry. These investments drive the discovery, development and delivery of world-class innovation.

Residency at our deep tech incubator

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