extensionAUS™ expanding the reach of agricultural R&D


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extensionAUS™ is an online information hub for the Australian agricultural sector that brings together scientists, academics and practitioners to collaborate, share knowledge and research, create ideas and solutions. Based on the concept ‘together we can achieve more’, the platform is connecting agricultural professionals to enable practice change on-farm. As of 1 July 2018, extensionAUS™ reached another milestone and is celebrating its 5th year, and it’s time to share the latest platform developments.

Together we can achieve more

The current extensionAUS™ platform was born out of the Australian Government Rural R&D for Profit Program Extension and Adoption for Australian Farmers and Fishers project and a pilot program based on the USA eXtension model. Tried and tested over a five year period, the model has evolved in the Australian context and today is led by three partner organisations; AgriFutures Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and Agriculture Victoria.

In practice, each partner organisation hosts a Community of Practice (CoP) network of subject matter experts who share knowledge with a member base of interested parties. It is a learning space, aimed at building skills and fostering collaboration.

extensionAUS™ Relationship Manager, Gavin Beever has been with the project since its inception and has seen the platform transform into what it is today.

“extensionAUS™ has come into its own and is growing from strength to strength. We have a dedicated network of experts who are connecting regularly and our users are reaping the benefits,” said Mr Beever.

“The platform has become a go-to resource for industry, as users know they can get timely and relevant expert advice at the click of a button, packaged up in an accessible format.

“We know that until a farmer does something different on farm, the return on investment is zero. extensionAUS™ is a trusted tool Australian agricultural industries are using to share research and development (R&D) knowledge and make better farming decisions.”

A powerful online learning network

The extensionAUS™ difference is the ability to widely share knowledge and leverage the wisdom of the masses. By harnessing collective expertise in subject areas, the platform fosters creative solutions to complex problems and can maximise outcomes in a cost effective way. Working in the digital space makes the identification of knowledge experts simple and offers a way to quickly communicate, collaborate and respond to industry opportunities, issues and challenges.

While it may look simple on face value, it’s what happens behind the scenes that makes extensionAUS™ so valuable. A key feature is the Google-based space for collaboration and discussion. Experts come together to create and peer-review research and scientifically based content with the end goal of fostering practice change through the CoPs.

The ‘Ask an expert’ feature allows users to ask Community of Practice experts questions and receive tailored, one-on-one responses. Regular newsletters are shared by the CoP members to keep users up to date with the latest program activities, news and events, and each CoP has a social media presence to distribute and promote the latest expert information.

By joining the platform, each CoP has access to dedicated support services, tutorials, webinars and professional development programs to make the most of the collaborative space. A technical working group meets regularly to offer web assistance and ensure CoPs are making the most of the platform functionality.

A shared vision for Australian agriculture

extensionAUS™ Relationship Manager, Gavin Beever said the partner organisations are firmly focused on the future direction of the platform and building on the success to date.

“We’re looking forward to growing our membership and continuing to share the benefits of the platform,” said Mr Beever.

“Extension is key to boosting the productivity of Australian agriculture. extensionAUS™ has the capability to build cross sector collaboration and ensure agricultural R&D reaches the stakeholders who have the ability to transform the sector.”

The annual extensionAUS™ Bootcamp will be held in September 2018, bringing together CoPs and prospective users for professional development and networking. The Bootcamp will set the scene for the coming 12 months and identify new opportunities to achieve the platform’s vision.

Learn more: https://extensionaus.com.au

 extensionAUS™ Communities of Practice

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AgriFutures Australia
  • Extension Practice
NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI)
  • Automatic Milking
  • Precision Agriculture
Agriculture Victoria 
  • Irrigating Agriculture
  • Victorian Food Innovation Network
  • Victorian Rural Women’s Network
  • Australian Apple and Pear Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM)

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