Science to Practice Forum 2021

The Future drought fund's science to practice forum - BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF DROUGHT RESILIENCE - 3 DAY EVENT

The Future Drought Fund (FDF) within the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) required contentgroup to produce and facilitate their 2021 Science to Practice Forum – Building the Foundations of Drought Resilience. 

This high-profile event ran for three days and connected researchers, farmers, agribusinesses and communities who are committed to making Australia more drought resilient. It was the first time that Australians would hear from the eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs – the centrepiece of the Australian Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund. The purpose was to enable each hub to present their regions’ co-design priorities and how they plan to address these issues over the next four years.



In conversation with Dr. Anne Poelina, Executive Chair Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council
In conversation with Troy Clarkson, Manager, Regional Coordination at Victorian Department of Primary Industries
Facilitator Andrew Bell in conversation with Bruce Pascoe, Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Petersen and Dr. Kate Andrews

Accessibility was a key component of this event. The Department requested that the forum be run in a ‘hybrid’ format so that attendees can benefit from both in-person and online attendance. 

Initially,10 viewing locations were set up across Australia, with eight of these being in the assigned ‘Hubs’ to allow stakeholders to easily access, engage and network across all three days of the Forum. The hub locations spanned across the whole of Australia and included Merredin, Darwin, Dookie, Adelaide, Hobart, Wagga Wagga, Toowoomba and Cairns.

Leading up to the event dates, Australia’s COVID-19 situation grew. This meant that many in-person venues were unable to host the Forum. contentgroup worked with the FDF team and allowed speakers and attendees who were initially attending these places to easily access the Forum and present from the comfort of their own homes.

contentgroup worked closely with the Future Drought Fund team to define and plan the parameters of the event.
The Forum saw a mix of:

  • Live venues, remote and in-studio speakers as well as
  • Multiple pre-recorded videos and PowerPoint presentations that featured over 30 different speakers from across the nation.

To help manage this scale and complexity, we ran technical tests with every speaker and developed a production run sheet to break down the event into smaller parts. contentgroup was also responsible for filming and editing some pre-recorded content, to play during the Forum.

We used the Hopin platform to produce all elements of the virtual event – from the registration page through to the final delivery of data and analytics reports. 

contentgroup also provided a highly experienced event facilitator/host who conducted the majority of Q&A sessions and the panel discussion, whilst sharing his production expertise and understanding of regional Australia with the FDF team on an ongoing basis. Following the event, the FDF team was provided with a recording of the broadcast and a copy of the transcript covering all three days.

If you want to view all the content from the three-day webinar with transcripts, please visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website

“The inaugural Future Drought Fund’s Science to Practice Forum was a 3-day hybrid event partnering in-person venues with livestreaming capability. The collaborative approach, professionalism, technical expertise in live productions, and flexibility of contentgroup—particularly Andrew Bell, Annabelle Fife, and Ben Curry—gave our staff the confidence and ability to deliver the forum even as large parts of the country were entering COVID-19 lockdowns on short notice. Despite these challenges, the forum was a polished and highly acclaimed event that connected nationally for more than 16 hours. contentgroup were invaluable for managing the registration process and livestreaming platform, supporting presenters, and the final production and delivery of our forum. Participants particularly appreciated how sessions were run on time and how having a live host added energy and camaraderie to the event. Our staff who worked closely with contentgroup cannot praise the efforts of their team highly enough and we look forward to working closely with them in the future.”

- Lyn O’Connell,

Deputy Secretary & Indigenous Champion, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

"As a beef extension officer in Far North Queensland, I spend a lot of time on the road travelling between cattle stations and remote rural towns to connect with producers. My 4WD is my office. I wouldn’t have been able to present at the Science to Practice Forum except from my 4WD using my laptop. I was able to quickly and easily dial in to the Forum and connect with researchers, producers and industry. While not the same as a face-to-face event, a hybrid virtual conference is definitely the next best thing for those on the road or working in remote locations."

– Emily Corbett

Beef Extension Officer, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland Government


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