The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, led by Professor Harvey Millar at The University of Western Australia, is making its world-class research more accessible to the general public through the
innovative use of virtual reality.

The Virtual Plant Cell (VPC) lets people explore the sub-microscopic inner world of a plant in an immersive way. Public audiences get the opportunity to interact with a plant cell and learn about complex processes studied by
local scientists.

Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence toured festivals around Australia during National Science Week 2016 and 2017 using VPC to connect the community with plant biotechnology and the real-world agricultural challenges being addressed through research. Pioneering VPC classroom activities are being used to engage students in plant science and instil a passion for plant research.

Outreach that creates positive public dialogue about science is an important activity of the ARC Centre of Excellence, to give Australians a better understanding of the importance of plants and their amazing ability to capture, convert and use energy.

To engage the wider community in their fundamental understanding of the world, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology has created a number of targeted education, training and outreach programs, aimed at schools, farmers, teachers, universities, science museums, field days, careers festivals and even pubs.

Image: The Virtual Plant Cell uses virtual reality technology to engage the community in plant science and connect audiences to plant energy biology research.
Image credit: Plant Energy Biology. Photographer: James Campbell.