Table 1: Estimation of voluntary industry contributions to the RIRDC Horse R&D Program expressed as a % of horse industry GVP.
Industry $ for Horse R&D Est’d industry GVP IVC as % of ($billion) GVP $300,000 3.6 0.0083% 2 0.015% 1 0.03% 0.5 0.06% Whole of horse industry GVP est’d as $3.6 billion during equine influenza (EI) response If the racing industry’s levy was treated in the same way as a statutory levy then levy funds would be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a value of 0.5% of GVP.
The estimate of GVP for the broader equine industry used by the Australian Government in the recent EI outbreak was $3.6 billion.
The current RIRDC Horse Program attracts about $550,000 (0.015% of GVP) in voluntary industry contributions and from 1 July 2009 this will reduce to approximately $350,000 (0.01% of GVP).
It is important to note that the funds raised by the racing industry levy contribute to research that in most cases generates benefits for the entire horse industry.
Current Research Program The RIRDC Horse R&D Program is in the fourth year of a five-year plan (2006-2007 to 2010-2011).
Table 2: Horse Program investment arranged by activity and summarised for the entire lifespan of the program (1995 to date) or the current five year plan (2006 to date) 2006% Type Value_all current % All 2006Project $9,169,306 $3,440,582 85 88 Scholarship $393,000 $315,000 4 8 Newsletter $972,094 $112,800 9 3 Conference $272,507 $38,519 3 1 Travel $13,261 $13,261 0.1 0.3 Grand Total $10,820,168 $3,920,162 100 100 Almost 90% of the annual R&D budget is spent on project activities and the remaining funds are directed to post-graduate scholarships, sponsorship of conferences and travel grants and production of the equine newsletter. Table 3: Annual R&D budget in the RIRDC Horse Program Year Annual R&D $ <2006 $500,000 to $600,000 2006-2007 $1,100,000 2007-2008 $1,100,000 2008-2009 $1,000,000 2009-2010 $600,000 2010-2011 $600,000 In years where the annual R&D budget is around $0.5 to $0.6 million, the Program generally funds about 4 to 13 new projects each year, with new expenditure in any one year accounting for between $0.1 to $0.25 million, and the balance of the annual budget being spent on ongoing projects (multi-year projects started in previous years).
In the years when the budget was expanded and particularly 2006-2007 and 2007-2008, the Program started 22 and 24 new projects, respectively, indicating the impact of a large increase in available funding on the ability to start projects.
The median value of projects started since 2003-2004 is $41,000 meaning that 50% of all projects funded by RIRDC since 2003 have received total funds of up to ~$40k from RIRDC.
The 25th and 75th percentile for total RIRDC funds per project over the same period was $15k and $90k, respectively.
The single largest project funded by RIRDC to date is a project currently on-going on determining reliable excretion rates for therapeutic drugs in horses, receiving a total of $676,640 over four years.
This project has attracted considerable project-specific voluntary contributions from industry stakeholders that are separate to the industry voluntary contributions to the overall program.
These amounts are included in the total figure so the investment from the normal budget of the RIRDC program is a little over half the total project budget.
Data from the RIRDC database (Clarity) were used to estimate total leverage on industry voluntary contributions (IVCs).
Budget details from a total of 24 projects from the last 2-3 years were extracted and used to summarise contributions to the project budget according to 3 criteria: • RIRDC payments to the project: o 50% IVC o 50% matched dollars from RIRDC Core Budget • Direct contributions of cash to project costs from sources other than RIRDC (including university grants, Australian Research Council grants, other government grants and industry contributions) • Indirect financial support from other sources including in-kind contributions from research providers and other stakeholders Table 4: Estimates of total leverage on industry voluntary contributions to horse research RIRDC Horse Industry Other contributions projects $ RIRDC $ to these projects Leverage 1:1 (n) IVC matching Direct $ Indirect Direct$:IVC Total:IVC 24 1.17 1.17 2.1 4.9 1.17 1.17 + 2.1 = 3.27 2.8 1.17 + 2.1 + 4.9 = 1.17 8.17 7 The 24 projects for which detailed budget estimates were available, involved a total of $2.34 million in funds being paid from RIRDC to research providers (50% or $1.17 million from IVC and 50% from matched RIRDC Core Budget).
The projects also involved an additional $2.1 million in direct cash contributions from other sources to offset project costs and an additional $4.0 million in indirect contributions to institution in-kind for example.
The leverage achieved from the IVC inputs can therefore be estimated as: • 1to1 with respect to matching from RIRDC Core Budget • 2.8 to 1 with respect to total cash contributions to project costs.
O This means that every $1 provided through industry voluntary contributions to the RIRDC Horse Program, attracts an additional $2.8 from other sources. • When all inputs are considered (direct and indirect contributions) the leverage increases to 7 to 1.
O This means that for every $1 invested through industry voluntary contributions, the value of R&D performed is equivalent to $8. Table 5: Summary of projects by topic grouping for projects begun within the current five year plan (2006 and onwards) , excluding projects that are currently in final consideration for approval at present.
Topic Group Value Count Racing injuries $480,408 7 Breeding $314,131 6 Laminitis $191,500 5 Foals $569,940 4 Welfare/Safety/Behaviour $390,000 4 Respiratory – infectious $197,000 3 Respiratory noninfectious $73,320 3 Therapeutics $676,460 1 Racetrack $16,000 1 Cardiac $65,299 2 Non-racing MS conditions $27,945 2 Parasites $238,954 2 Anaesthesia $27,575 1 Emergency care $15,000 1 Gastrointestinal $24,875 1 Infections – bacteria $12,500 1 Infections – virus $60,000 1 Levy project $59,675 1 Travel $13,261 7 Scholarship $315,000 5 Conference $38,519 4 Newsletter $112,800 1 Grand Total $3,920,162 46 Between 2006-2010, (fourth year of the current five year plan) the Program has started 46 research projects covering a wide range of topic areas.
Benefits from R&D Impact assessment of R&D programs is often reported within a triple bottom line framework – assigning benefits to economic, environmental and social outcomes.
Methods typically involve a combination of benefit-cost analyses for those impacts that can be estimated in dollar terms and alternative methods for presenting potential benefits that may not be amenable to economic valuation.
The approach is clouded by the fact that there is a considerable time lag between research output (publication of a paper) and a resultant measurable change within the broader industry that may represent an outcome impact of the R&D.
Examples of measurable changes may include increased productivity, reduced disease, and changes in policy.
Estimates from Australia and overseas indicate that lameness and musculoskeletal injuries affect between 10-18% of horses each year.
Costs attributable to musculoskeletal injuries can be split between direct costs of health care (veterinary fees, drugs and other treatments), mortalities and costs associated with lost use of the animal.
The largest contributor to costs is the loss of use of the animal, accounting for 50-60% of total costs.
It is estimated that musculoskeletal injuries cost the Australian horse industry as much as $100 million per year.
Major R&D outputs relating to injuries and non-infectious conditions of athletic horses include: • Information on racetrack design and assessment of racetrack surface characteristics to better manage racetracks, provide a more uniform and consistent racing surface and reduce the risk of injuries that might be caused by racetrack configuration, surface angle or physical characteristics. • Information on major injuries sustained by racehorses during training and racing and factors that may be either causing these conditions or helping to reduce the risk.
A number of projects have been completed over several years.
In recent years the program has funded research aimed at developing computer modelling of joint and limb function and dysfunction as a means of exploring pathogenesis of injuries and identifying preventive strategies to reduce injury risk. • Better understanding of factors associated with bleeding (EIPH) in racehorses and its effect on performance. • Better understanding of the range of changes observed in radiographs of yearlings at sales and the relationships between changes observed in yearlings and subsequent performance as a racehorse. • Development of a system for recording fitness data while a horse is actively training to allow accurate monitoring of fitness and improved training and performance.
In the current 5-year plan (since 1 July 2006), the Horse Program has invested a total of ~$700,000 on research focused on musculoskeletal injuries which in turn has resulted in R&D with a total value of ~$4 million.
RIRDC funded R&D has resulted in significant improvements in our understanding of factors causing these conditions, as well as detection, treatment and prevention.
Assuming that this R&D has resulted in a 10% reduction in total costs of musculoskeletal conditions, this represents a saving of ~$10 million per annum, derived from an initial industry contribution of ~$350,000 distributed over several years.
Other major conditions affecting horses include gastrointestinal disease (including colic, diarrhoea, dental disease and other conditions) that are estimated to affect 2 to 4% of horses, respiratory conditions (2 to 6%) and skin conditions (4%).
Major contributors to ongoing preventive health costs include parasite control (most horses are wormed four times per year), foot care, teeth care and vaccination against infectious diseases (tetanus, strangles and equine herpes virus).
Costs associated with these conditions are estimated to total $50-75 million plus per year.
The RIRDC Horse Program has invested in a range of different types of research areas.
With respect to diseases of horses major R&D outputs from the RIRDC Program include: • Improved understanding of factors causing respiratory disease (infectious conditions and inflammatory airway disease) in horses, and better management of conditions to ensure full and rapid recovery • Understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of specific diseases including strangles and Rhodococcus equi infection (rattles) in foals, leading to improved methods of diagnosis and treatment for these important conditions. • Identification of parasite resistance and improved strategies for managing parasite control • Improve understanding of the occurrence of gastric ulceration and factors causing ulceration The outcomes of these projects may be categorised as: • Improving our understanding of factors that predispose horses to infection leading to development of preventive strategies by controlling those factors; • Earlier identification of disease risk to allow early implementation of effective treatment leading to higher likelihoods of successful treatment, lower treatment costs and earlier return to full health; • Identification of improved treatments Benefits are wide-ranging, including improved animal welfare, better OH&S, as well as productivity gains.
As an example of approximate benefit-cost, the RIRDC Horse Program has spent ~$2 million on R&D related to non-musculoskeletal conditions during the current 5-year plan (since 1 July 2006).
Assuming the increase in knowledge and improvement in products is associated with a 10% reduction in the total impact of all conditions per annum the net benefit of this order of impact over 10 to 20 years is far in excess of the actual cost of the R&D, leading to a very strong benefit: cost ratio even in the short term.
An example of a project with unanticipated benefits associated with the horse industry can be seen in a project funded by the Australian Biosecurity Co-operative Research Centre (AB-CRC) that resulted in the development of a rapid (<5 hours), real-time PCR test, specific for influenza type A and that was developed primarily to detect avian influenza virus.
The resulting test was used from the outset of the 2007 EI virus outbreak to confirm presence of EI virus in horses showing clinical signs and was a major contributor to the ability to rapidly determine disease status and implement effective control.
Project costs totaled some $262,000 and the estimated ratio of benefits to costs was 456 to 1 (estimated over a 30 year period), indicating that the R&D investment in diagnostic capability (for a disease in birds) had an unanticipated and massive benefit resulting from its application during the EI outbreak.
While the R&D leading to the development and implementation of this test was not funded by RIRDC, it is an excellent example (documented by a published BCA) of a very high value outcome resulting from modest R&D expenditure.
Protecting lives and reducing injuries is a very powerful R&D outcome.
The value of the investment into the development and production of plastic running rail was graphically illustrated in a major race incident at Flemington in early May 2010 when three jockeys fell colliding with the rail but avoided the serious injuries often associated with the traditional steel structure.
In terms of drug detection it would be useful to note the collaborative links with R&D in the field of sports doping.
Agronomy work also benefits other sporting industries.
The Australian Racing Board and Harness Racing Australia strongly believe that the RIRDC model has been demonstrated as being a highly efficient and effective model for delivering high value R&D in the horse sector.
The benefits of the RIRDC horse program have been both to the industry and the community. 4. Other racing industry investment in R&D Apart from the contributions that the racing industry makes to RIRDC there are a number of other R&D programs that the thoroughbred and horses sectors invest in.
The table below gives an overview of the level of this investment over the period of 2001 – 2009. Year 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 Total Equine Vet R&D 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 130,000 2,680,000 Lab R&D 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 1,500,000 Other R&D* 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 175,000 75,000 165,000 135,000 90,000 790,000 Total 530,000 530,000 530,000 530,000 530,000 675,000 375,000 465,000 435,000 370,000 4,970,000 *includes rail development and jockey safety & welfare 5. Future R&D needs
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