Research and education consortium

The Future Food Systems transdisciplinary research team is drawn from six leading Australia research and teaching universities, three state and territory government R&D bodies and The George Institute for Global Health. Covering all skillsets relevant to the food value chain, the consortium brings integrated capability and a world-class network of laboratories to the Australian future food industry.

A primary aim in forming the consortium was to help accelerate uptake of advanced STEM technologies across the sector. Many CRC projects involve forming teams that bring together specialists from fields not conventionality associated with the food industry – for example, specialists from computing, digital analytics, medicine, energy and urban planning – who have not previously worked in the agrifood field. This creates exciting opportunities for cross-fertilisation and also will attract new cohorts of tertiary students, helping to build the skilled future workforce the sector needs to be globally competitive.

The involvement of government research bodies in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory and of international research group the George Institute for Global Health adds critical expertise across regulatory, market development and policy fields.

Also important was ensuring a wide geographic and cultural range. The CRC has a research presence in key future food regions in Western, Eastern and Northern Australia as well as in urban and regional student communities and client bases.

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

As a leading global STEM-based research and education institution, University of NSW brings expertise and advanced laboratories across food science, biomedical and chemical engineering, advanced manufacturing, information technology, robotics, urban and peri-urban infrastructure planning, medicine and community health, and environmental solutions (energy, water, waste).

In addition to providing services across the spectrum of STEM disciplines, UNSW is collaborating with The George Institute, Murdoch University and other research partners with expertise in the health and medical outcomes of diet to help deliver on the CRC’s goal of making Australia a leader in the emerging field of precision nutrition.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Queensland University of Technology brings expertise across urban planning; logistics; advanced robotics; tropical crop production and biocommodities; and digital, interactive spatial data visualisation as expertise in northern Australian industry and environment.  Its state-of-the-art facilities include campuses and annexes across Southern and Northern Queensland.

QUT has a number of specialised research centres of relevance to the CRC’s research focus, including the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB); the Institute for Future Environments; the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF) and myGlobe, a sophisticated digital interactive spatial data visualisation facility. Collectively, these bring capabilities to the CRC in the areas of high-value tropical and indigenous crops and products containing them; aquaponics and automation for protected cropping facilities; and regional food-industry cluster planning.

In collaboration with Charles Darwin University and Murdoch, QUT researchers play a central role in supporting the CRC’s Northern Australian projects and activities.

Murdoch University

Murdoch University’s role in the CRC includes supporting the Australian food industry as it builds capability in the creation and supply of value-added goods tailored to Asian consumer trends and preferences – including growing demand for scientifically verified functional foods and nutraceuticals.

Murdoch brings world-leading facilities and capabilities to the CRC’s health science activities, including those of its Food Futures Institute, Health Futures Institute and the new Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC), equipped with cutting-edge equipment and scientific instrumentation supplied by Bruker, and staffed by a team of world-leading scientists in the emerging field of phenomics.

The university’s Asia Research Centre has valuable data and expertise pertaining to markets for Australian food and beverage products, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals across the Asian region.

Western Sydney University (WSU)

As national leader in horticultural innovation, Western Sydney University in New South Wales brings critical expertise in plant science and agronomy, and has state-of-the-art protected-cropping laboratories including the Experimental Greenhouse at its Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) and the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre.

WSU also houses the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), with laboratories and clinicians specialised in developing plant-based nutraceutical and precision nutrition products.

Located in the rapidly developing region of the new Western Sydney Airport, WSU serves a dynamic, multicultural peri-urban student population, and brings unique insight and cultural perspectives that are essential to the CRC’s regional development and industry cluster agenda.

University of New England (UNE)

Located in the thriving inland agricultural region of Armidale in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, UNE brings leading expertise across agronomy, biological science, agricultural productivity, policy, economics and social sciences to the CRC.

The university brings capabilities in all these areas to the planning and creation of a smart, sustainable food-industry clusters in regional Australia; and to primary-industry stakeholders focused on value-adding to farm production and to improving the sustainability and resilience of future broadacre production systems.

Charles Darwin University (CDU)

Charles Darwin University in Australia’s Northern Territory brings expertise in tropical and arid environments and indigenous crops to the CRC and its projects, in particular through its Northern Institute and Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL).

These two Top-End research facilities – coupled with those of fellow partners, the CRC for Northern Australia and the Northern Territory Government – bring substantial regional expertise and data to the CRC, both of use in developing food-industry clusters specialised for the unique needs of Northern Australian environments and communities.

CDU activities of relevance to CRC projects relate to the cultivation and medicinal uses of indigenous crops and foods; sustainable production solutions for ephemeral wetland crops; health claims for traditional medicinal plants; and community health initiatives.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI)

NSW DPI’s research and development hub conducts state-wide field research and has experimental trial sites and valuable datasets on land use, crops, weeds and other variables for regions and localities across the state.

With more than 600 research staff, NSWDPI is the nation’s largest supplier of R&D services to primary industry. It  provides expert advice to local and regional communities and policymakers on the implications of crop and food-related developments and actions.

The Department takes a solutions-focused approach through strategic, practical and agile research programs, providing tested science to underpin farm decision-making and advice on the implications of particular actions to the community and policymakers.  It makes significant research and inkind contributions across all CRC programs including  industry development,  trade, policy innovation and sustainable production systems.

WA Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development (DPIRD)

Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) works with nine Regional Development Commissions across WA. It has strong regional capabilities with regard to planning and implementing regional development across the state and drives export readiness and industry capability across the sector.

The department plays a central role in the CRC, supporting WA food industry innovation and the growth of regional food clusters and agribusiness ventures in the state.

NT Department of Primary Industry & Resources (DPIR)

The Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources has offices and research stations in each major region of the NT and aggregates many of the key functions that drive economic development on NT lands, coastal areas and inland waterways, including energy, fisheries, livestock, horticulture and agriculture.

Its regulatory and research functions extend across Aboriginal economic development, community engagement, agribusiness enterprise development, agribusiness investment attraction and market development, and all sectors of Top-End agriculture as well as energy, policy, strategy and compliance. In partnership with Charles Darwin University, the department is playing a central role in CRC initiatives to develop and commercial innovation crops and production systems in the Northern Territory.

The George Institute for Global Health

The George Institute (TGI) produces high-quality, high-impact evidence to inform policy, guidelines and practices across the world and is a leader in the global drive to improve health outcomes through better nutrition.

Its FoodSwitch program has a national and international database on the nutritional properties of packaged foods, and comparisons among them with regard to various health and nutritional attributes.

In addition to FoodSwitch,  TGI brings to the CRC expertise and global networks in planning, implementing and analysing the outcomes of large-scale community-health initiatives, comprehensive epidemiological datasets and the labs, equipment and personnel needed to conduct clinical trials.