Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Future looks tastier thanks to Australian researchers

Tastier cheese, improved food security and disease resistant rice are some of the possibilities that could flow from the Gillard Labor Government’s $310 million investment in research.

Announcing the funding for over 1,000 national research projects, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr highlighted food research as an area that would help secure a richer, greener, fairer and healthier future for all Australians.

“Food processing is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector. It is vital for our nation’s prosperity, so we must invest in quality research and development that will help this industry adapt to the pressures of a changing climate and economy,” Senator Carr said.

“Researchers at the University of Queensland will use a $333 000 grant to optimise starter culture strains in cheese making. Australia makes over $1 billion worth of cheese each year and this research will ensure its flavour and quality is of the highest standard, as increasingly discerning markets demand.

“The University of Sydney will use a $290 000 grant to understand the fundamental mechanisms that allow the rice blast disease to damage rice harvests. Combating this disease will result in a significant improvement in rice yields in Australia and worldwide.

“With global demand for nutritious, sustainable food set to double by 2050, researchers at the University of Queensland will use a $100 000 grant to undertake the first social-science based study of food security in Australia. This will help us understand the networks that deliver food from the farm to our door, which could be put at risk from pressures such as climate change.”

The research projects were announced as part of the Australian Research Council’s 2012 Major Grants Announcement, with $310 million announced for over 1,000 research projects nationwide. Funding will begin in 2012 and be administered over a period of up to five years under the Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development, Discovery Projects, Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Projects and Linkage Projects schemes.

To view the summaries of all funding outcomes and information on the funding schemes, visit the Funding Announcement Kits page.

For more information on the ARC and the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio, including the research grants available, visit their websites.

Media contacts: 
Minister's office, 02 6277 7580
ARC Stakeholder Relations, 0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au