A cooperative research centre based at UNSW Sydney will receive $35 million in federal funding over the next decade to position Australia as a global leader in advanced food manufacturing. The funding is in addition to $149.6 million in cash and in-kind funds from more than 60 partners, including NSW Farmers and Liverpool Council.
The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, announced the new funding for the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre at an event at UNSW that included representatives from local councils, universities and industry partners.
The cooperative research centre will develop new technologies, products and services to help Australia solve major economic, environmental and social challenges across the country’s food supply chain from farmers and food manufacturers. These challenges include optimising the productivity of regional and peri-urban food systems, taking new products from prototype to market and implementing rapid, provenance-protected supply chains from farm to consumer.
“What we have to do is make sure we are looking towards the future and we’re clear what the issues are that we need to address,” Minister Andrews said. “The important thing is that we make sure we have industry and researchers working hand-in-hand to solve the problems, to identify what the issues are and to make sure Australia is on the front foot in dealing with so many of these issues.”
Minister Andrews added that Australia is uniquely positioned geographically to tackle one of the most important global challenges.
“If I look at food in particular, we have almost half of the world’s population directly north of us,” Minister Andrews said. “So, Australia is ideally located to play a very key role in this area.”
Ana Deletic, UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, said the University’s strategy had a strong focus on partnerships with industry to take products from prototype to market.
“The Future Food Systems CRC brings together a diverse group of over 60 research, industry and government partners with a common vision: to create the next generation of sustainable, efficient food production in Australia,” said Professor Deletic. “UNSW is proud to be part of the CRC. Our expertise in food technology and food science will be essential in helping Australia build a vital future ecosystem that affects us all."
UNSW Engineering Dean Professor Mark Hoffman said the CRC cemented UNSW’s involvement in the important area of food production and technology.
“This CRC will move Australia into a new era of high technology food production, transforming one of our most important industries and reinforcing our place as a major world food producer,” said Professor Hoffman. “This will be achieved by a partnership between our country's best engineers and technologists and our primary producers.”