FFS team goes west

In mid-March 2023, FFS CEO Dr James Krahe and GM Anthony Battaglia paid a productive visit to our partners in Western Australia.

In Perth, they toured several of Murdoch University’s agrifood-related facilities, including the Food Futures Institute; ClearVue glasshouse; Health Futures Institute; and Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC) – a world-leading centre for phenomics and metabolomics,filled with cutting edge technologies and equipment from analytical and CRC partner Bruker Scientific. The team also visited the just-launched Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia (FIPWA) near Mandurah, south of Perth, where they toured the facilities, including the site of the multi-million-dollar, under construction Food Technology Facility (FTF) and attended a workshop with the team delivering the FFS’s flagship FTF project. 

“Touring the Murdoch scientific facilities was a thrilling experience that reinforced the endless potential for innovation and progress in the world of food and diet science,” Dr Krahe says.

“The cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art equipment are a testament to the dedication and commitment of the triple-helix partnerships of Academia, Industry and Government that Murdoch University and the FFS have forged in Western Australia.”

Researcher at work in the Australian National Phenome Centre lab. Credit: Murdoch University/ANPC
Murdoch University’s Professor Kirsty Bayliss in the greenhouse. Credit:: Murdoch University
World expert in metabolomics Professor Jeremy Nicholson in the Australian National Phenome Centre laboratory at Murdoch University. Credit: ANPC/Murdoch University

Constructive conversations

Our east-coast team contingent made time for valuable face-to-face conversations with ANPC Director and FFS Program 3 lead Professor Jeremy Nicholson; Program 3 deputy and ANPC Foundation (‘Food metabolic library’) project lead Dr Ruey Leng Loo; ‘Crop microbiome’ project lead Prof. Kirsty Bayliss, and other project participants, including several FFS-backed PhDs.

They also met with representatives of our government partners in the west, including the WA Government Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Peel Development Commission and Shire of Murray to discuss research priorities, FFS involvement and our flagship multi-million-dollar ‘Food Technology Facility’ project.

“I am excited for FFS to continue to work with WA industry partners,” Dr Krahe says. “Together, we can catalyse the growth of the food manufacturing sector via the forthcoming FFS Food Technology Facility. 

“I know that the project will address many of the challenges identified within the state of WA, particularly value-adding to commodity grain crops and ensuring that WA products can be competitively produced at scale in WA. I know that this key FFS project will ensure manufacturing skills, products and jobs remain local in WA.”

A detail of the new Food Technology Facility building at the Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia (FIPWA). Credit: FIPWA/Shire of Murray

Forthcoming FFS events in the West

The WA trip has given traction to some exciting events for the FFS and its participants in the West.

It cemented our choice to hold the next FFS Summit in Perth and gave our GM the chance to do some preliminary site inspections and pre-planning for that event.

Another spin-off from the visit was a mutual commitment to collaborate in a series of practical, topic-driven ‘Science Meets Business’ events, to be held on site at FIPWA over the coming year.

Dates and details of the first of these will be announced soon.

Lead image: FFS CEO Dr James Krahe (far right) meets the planning team for the FFS’s flagship ‘Food Technology Facility’ project at the Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia (FIPWA) near Mandurah, WA, where the FFS will also co-host a series of practical webinars over the next year. Credit: FFS