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Auditors question low carbon farming grants process

The Australian National Audit Office says that a $200 million research programme into low carbon farming may have been compromised by conflicts of interest among experts assessing the grants.

An ANAO investigation of the federal Department of Agriculture’s carbon emissions reduction programme, Filling the Research Gap, reveals several of those assessing the grants had also applied for funding under the scheme.  

In other cases, panel members knew or had worked with applicants, or were employed by the same university or research agency as an applicant. The three universities that were most successful in securing grants all had representatives on the assessment panel. 

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