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Fostering collaboration

Since RDS Partners was established in 2000, we’ve worked with a wide variety of enterprises and organisations. On every project we undertake, our prime objective is to understand and meet our clients' core needs and goals.


We take client confidentiality very seriously, and therefore cannot show much of the work we've done over the years.


Below are some examples that we CAN share – showcasing some of our key projects.


Take a look, and get in touch to learn more.



[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

As part of the National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Framework, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) was required to establish baseline data on regional expertise or functional activity.


Using our industry experience, combined with our expertise in conducting and reporting on research of this nature, FRDC commissioned RDS Partners to design and deliver the first national RD&E capability audit and assessment for the Australian Fishing and Aquaculture Industry in 2009. The final report for that project supported the development of the publication "Working Together: The National Fishing and Aquaculture RD&E Strategy”.


This project was repeated in 2013, when the FRDC again commissioned RDS Partners to update the 2009 audit.


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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

The closure of major industries hits small regional communities hard. At such a time for the Tasmanian Circular Head community, we partnered with Relationships Australia Tasmania to learn from local people how Relationships Australia Tasmania could contribute to community resilience and well-being in the face of industry closure and change.

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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

The Centre for Food Innovation (CFI) is a research collaboration between UTAS, CSIRO and the Defence Science and Technology Group.

As an independent project manager and trusted advisor, Tom facilitated the business planning and coordinated the underpinning CFI agreement negotiations. The result has been a robust initiative jointly owned by three of Australia’s premier food safety and technology research organisations.

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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

ACIAR is a statutory authority that operates as part of the Australian Aid Program, and commissions research to improve sustainable agricultural production systems in developing countries. ACIAR’s Fisheries Program aims to improve the productivity and sustainability of fisheries and aquatic farming systems in partner countries and Australia through international research partnerships. The Program collaborates with research agencies and communities in Australia and partner countries to build and sustain the capacity of institutions and individuals to manage aquaculture and fisheries sectors for improved incomes and food security.


In 2014, ACIAR commissioned RDS Partners to undertake a retrospective evaluation of its entire Fisheries research program between 2000 and 2014. The aim was to assess the Program’s outputs, benefits, and impacts to complement the more economics-based assessments undertaken by ACIAR’s Impact Assessment Program. Our task was to assess scientific, capability development, and social impact of the Program.


The RDS team designed the project methodology, collected and analysed data and provided written advice to ACIAR. Our cross-cultural and social research expertise allowed us effectively to observe projects in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands countries and Papua New Guinea, and interview partner country experts and community groups. We also used online and in-person interview methodology to gain insights from the 45 Australian researchers who were involved in the Fisheries Program research since 2000.  


Our evaluation report provided both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the Fisheries Program since 2000. The report will support stakeholders and decision makers interested in the impact of the work of ACIAR in general and the Fisheries Program in particular. 


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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

In 2009, the Tasmanian Pacific oyster sector determined the need to establish a peak body to provide consistent and informed advocacy, communication and coordination services on behalf of the industry.

Over a period of 4 years, RDS Partners provided strategic advice, operational guidance and secretariat services as Oysters Tasmania was established and grew to become the recognised and respected go-to representative for Pacific Oyster growers in Tasmania.

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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

RDS Partners Director, Dr Tom Lewis, was integral in founding and establishing the industry cluster FermenTasmania.

With a core focus on helping Tasmanian fermenters do what they do better, Tom and his key partner in this project - Kim Seagram - developed FermenTasmania from an idea to the reality of an established not-for-profit industry cluster, facilitating and forging true collaboration between industry, academia and government.

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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

RDS Partners is working with the Centre for Food Innovation to bring to Australia a novel food processing technology – Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) – focused initially on targeted application of microwaves to ready-to-eat food products. Our role is to identify and work with key stakeholders to determine the scale, location and business model under which a commercial MATS facility will operate.

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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

In October 2020, the The Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology - AIFST - and RDS Partners were
commissioned by the Page Research Centre to deliver a synthesis of current knowledge and
expert opinion regarding the potential to grow Australia’s food manufacturing sector and proposing focus areas to support this growth.

For this work we explored recent literature and relevant reports (there's been a lot, and they're good) and
spoke directly with 26 of Australia's food system leaders (what a privilege that was).

Perhaps the most important message arising from this review was the need to reimagine the way we understand and manage food production in Australia – to think about an Australian food system, not just ‘agriculture’, ‘production’ or ‘manufacturing’ silos.

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[ Research. Development. Strategy. ]

The Allergen Bureau was established in 2005 and incorporated in 2013 as a not-for-profit, membership based company. The Allergen Bureau provides rapid responses to questions concerning the management of food allergen risks in food ingredients and manufactured foods in Australia and New Zealand. Responding to the increasing international incidence of food allergens, the Allergen Bureau draws on and disseminates information from all over the world on food regulations and the latest scientific research on food allergens including emerging food allergens.


RDS Partners have – through our strategic, secretariat and management roles – developed, supported and managed the Allergen Bureau from the initial idea to its current status as an internationally-recognised leader in the field of food allergen management. Our understanding of the Australian food industry, experience in fostering collaborative, pre-competitive projects, and ability to provide independent input within complex operating environments has underpinned this growth and success. A key outcome, based on RDS Partners’ capability, was to partner with Food Innovation Australia Ltd to co-fund the development of a world-leading, world-first, online allergen cross contact risk management tool - VITAL® Online, which is being taken up by food companies across the globe. Since its launch VITAL Online was a finalist in 4 categories of the national ICT industry awards and was the winner of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology's national food industry innovation award.

The Allergen Bureau is a wonderful example of cooperation amongst competitors in the food industry, with national and multinational food manufacturing and marketing companies, suppliers, importers, exporters, retailers and consumer groups working together to manage and reduce the risks to consumers from food allergens in manufactured foods.

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