10 May 2013

 Friends eating in a garden

Image courtesy: Friends eating in a garden ©Hybrid Images/Cultura (RF)/Jupiterimages.

 

Climate Change, Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Combet and Science and Research Minister Craig Emerson have announced eight new projects that have shared in $23 million under the ARC’s Industrial Research Transformation Program (ITRP).

A total of $14.5 million will go to four research hubs, while $9.3 million will be distributed across four training centres.

This first round of funding to be awarded under the ITRP covers a broad range of  areas across the food industry, including: the future of Australia's dairy industry; innovative wine production; cutting edge aquaculture; and Asian export opportunities.

Funding for the ITRP is awarded for research training centres and research hubs. The dedicated research hubs will bring universities and industry partners together to work on small and large research and development projects while training centres will foster close partnerships between university-based researchers and industry. The centres will also support the next generation of researchers with each training centre taking on at least ten Higher Degree by Research students, and three postdoctoral researchers.

ARC CEO, Professor Aidan Byrne, said the ITRP builds on the success of ARC schemes and other Government programs and allows a strong research-industry nexus to be formed.

“What I like about this particular Program is that it is training researchers for tomorrow with strong links to industry in key priority areas for Australia’s future.

“Not only will it foster important partnerships between business and universities, it supports early career researchers (higher degree by research students and postdoctoral fellows) to gain ‘hands-on’, practical skills and experience in important priority areas.

“I’m excited about the funding outcomes for this first round and look forward to seeing this program evolve to a broader set of priority areas.”

The announcement of Round 1 projects has been well received. The Australian Foodand Grocery Council (AFGC), which is partnering with the University of Queensland for one of the successful projects, welcomed the announcement. In a media release issued by the AFGC CEO, Gary Dawson congratulated the successful applicants and said the range of projects was fantastic news for the Australian food sector as it looks to enhance its operational efficiency and manufacturing capability, while also capitalising on significant export opportunities.

“Innovation is of critical importance to Australia’s $110 billion food and grocery manufacturing industry. This important investment will be a significant boost to Australia’s potential to become a food manufacturing hub for the Asian Century,” said Mr Dawson.

“It delivers funding to research hubs and training centres that will enhance industry competitiveness and bolster manufacturers’ capacity to take advantage of export opportunities by investing in research into food products and developing a skilled workforce to undertake this vital research.

“Following the announcement it has become even more evident just how important these projects are and we are learning more about how they will benefit the food industry and the community.”

In a media release issued by the University of Adelaide, which received $2.4 million for a new training centre focused on innovative wine production, Training Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, said the Centre would provide new knowledge, methods and technologies, as well as skilled researchers, to help the wine industry tackle its big challenges. Key objectives are to better manage flavour and alcohol content in Australia’s wines.

“The Australian wine industry is facing major challenges through climate change, water restrictions, changing consumer preferences and rising wine alcohol content. As such, this research training initiative comes at a critical time for the industry and will help in retaining the global competitiveness of Australia’s wine industry,” said Professor Jiranek.

While in Tasmania, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania, Professor Peter Rathjen, welcomed the funding his institution received for its Pathways to Market project.

The Pathways to Market project will initially focus on two food products and will track their distribution through the supply chain and into Asia. Researchers will delve into what consumers want to know about where their food comes from and how it affects what they buy. This information will be available to producers, processors and distributors to help them bring new products to market.

Professor Rathjen said Tasmania will be the place to come to pursue research in technology and sustainable development, food safety and agriculture.

“That research brings investment, highly skilled jobs and a head start for Tasmanian producers and businesses who will be the first to benefit from the research.”

ARC CEO Professor Byrne said he looked forward to the opening of the second ITRP round.

The first ITRP funded projects are:

Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

Project Title and Summary

Administering and Partner organisations

ARC Funding

 

Dairy Innovation Hub: transformational research to underpin the future of the Australian dairy manufacturing industry

 

The University of Melbourne with Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd

 

$5,000,000

 

Commercial development of rock lobster culture systems: the cutting edge of aquaculture

 

University of Tasmania with Darden Inc, JSA Consulting Engineers, Plastic Fabrications, The University of Auckland

 

$5,000,000

 

Pathways to market: transforming food industry futures through improved sensing, provenance and choice

 

University of Tasmania with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Grey Innovation Pty Ltd, National University of Singapore, TEEB for Business Coalition, The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, The Van Diemens Land Co, Vale SA

 

$2,500,000

 

Unlocking the food value chain: Australian food industry transformation for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets

 

The University of Melbourne with Kraft Foods Australia Pty Ltd

 

$2,000,000

Industrial Transformation Training Centres

Project Title and Summary

Administering and Partner organisations

ARC Funding

 

Agents of change: transforming the food industry for Australia, Asia and beyond

 

The University of Queensland with the Australian Food and Grocery Council

 

$2,695,000

 

Innovative wine production: responding to climate, water, market and economic challenges

 

The University of Adelaide with Laffort Oenologie Australia Pty Limited, Lowe Wines Pty Ltd, Memstar Pty Ltd, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Tarac Technologies, Treasury Wine Estates Vintners Ltd

 

$2,405,204

 

A molecular technology platform for enabling the next revolution in the food industry

 

Macquarie University with Agritechnology Pty Ltd, Grain Growers Ltd, Gratuk Technologies Pty Ltd, NSW Fisheries

 

$2,100,000

 

Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in Food Manufacture

 

The University of New South Wales with Allripe Pty Ltd, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Coorow Seeds, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Peanut Company of Australia, Simplot Australia Pty Ltd, The Smith's Snackfood Company Limited

 

$2,100,000

For more information about the ITRP visit the ARC website.