From the CEO

November has been an exceptionally busy month for the CRC with a raft of new projects in development, the CRC’s Annual General Meeting, and preparation for our annual Research Showcase event. On the research front, a smart greenhouse project with the Greenbio Group has commenced and a major precision nutrition project funded by the Western Australian Government is in final stages of approval.

2021 is shaping up to be a big year for our sector as government, industry and research leaders focus on the growth potential of specialised food manufacturing. Last week, I spoke at the Food in the Capital conference organised by CRC partner Regional Development Australia ACT. I also convened a panel at the National Economic Development Conference (NEDC) to discuss the opportunities for regions seeking to become globally connected food hubs, such as Western Sydney and Gippsland. The NEDC panel included several CRC partners: Nicola Pero, Food & Fibre Gippsland CEO, spoke about the critical importance of specialisation in forming successful industry clusters; Dr Eddie Jackson, Liverpool City Council CEO, updated the conference on development in the region and addressed the coalface challenges faced by local governments as they seek to align government and industry goals around growth and value creation; UNSW’s Prof. Sami Kara spoke about the role of new technology in new factories and how
aligning complementary firms in precincts to share circular-economy infrastructure is key to minimising cost and environmental impact.

It is great to see such strong interest and engagement around key innovation themes for our sector.

David Eyre
CEO, Future Food Systems


Project news

Greenbio: developing efficiency and automation solutions

Agri-biotech firm Greenbio Group is working with automation experts at Queensland University of Technology in the first stage of an ambitious project to design and validate configuration, automation and resource efficiency solutions for its current facility in south-east Brisbane. The QUT-Greenbio research team, led by Dr Chris Lehnert at the QUT Centre for Robotics, will use iterative design to develop system components, then deploy state-of-the-art simulation and additive manufacturing – 3D printing – techniques to prototype these quickly. Prototypes will be evaluated in the field, with the project team analysing system inputs and outputs using an Internet of Things (IoT), sensor-based experimental framework. Read more



Meet Chris Lehnert: automation and machine vision expert

Dr Chris Lehnert is a robotics engineer based at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (ACRV) at QUT. He specialises in solving commercial automation challenges and is working across Program 2 of the CRC, leading the newly commenced ‘Modular vertical growing systems‘ project and, more broadly, bringing his technical expertise to the commercialisation pathway for automation and machine-vision solutions in commercial horticulture. Read more


Education news

Kim Ang will be undertaking PhD study, based at Murdoch University in Perth, and working on a ‘Bioactive components for value-add to Australian artichokes’ project. This month, too, we caught up with Charles Darwin University PhD student Gehan Abdelghany, who’s engaged on the ‘Commercialising native rice project’ under project lead Dr Sean Bellairs.

Gehan Abdelghany: from Nile delta crops to Northern Australian native rice

Appointed to the CRC’s ‘Commercialising native rice project’ early in 2020, CDU PhD student Gehan Abdelghany, currently working on her doctorate from Egypt, is keen to further her research interest in exploring native plant species that benefit local communities. Read more


Partner news

ASTE announces 2020 Fellows, including three from UNSW

Among the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering (ATSE)’s just-announced 2020 Fellows is Cordelia Selomulya, Professor of Chemical Engineering at UNSW and the CRC’s Research & Commercialisation Director. Read more

FIAL seeks stakeholder input to help grow food and ag sector to $200B+

In its ‘Capturing the Prize‘ report, FIAL found that Australia’s food and agribusiness sector has potential to exceed $200b p.a. on a value-add basis by 2030. FIAL is developing roadmaps for each of the 19 growth opportunities identified in the report, and is calling for broad-ranging stakeholder input. Read more

Murdoch, ClearVue to construct world’s first commercial-scale solar-glass greenhouse

Australia-based ‘smart building materials’ firm ClearVue PV is constructing a first-of-its-kind greenhouse at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. Due to be finished and fitted by early 2021, it will be used for crop trials to test the efficacy of the company’s new clear-solar-glass technology. Read more

Alliance of four universities to deliver game-changer in education for Western Sydney

Western Sydney University has joined the NUW Alliance, a joint venture of The University of Newcastle, UNSW Sydney and the University of Wollongong. Together, the universities will lead a new approach to collaborative education and research, notably through the development of a ‘Multiversity’ within the new Aerotropolis precinct in Western Sydney. Read more

Locavore breweries, better beef: F&FG’s agribusiness award-winners

Food & Fibre Gippsland’s annual Excellence in Agribusiness Awards recognise the immense contribution local agribusinesses make to the region and its economy. Read more

Regional renewables expert wins UNE Rising Star award

Solar-tech entrepreneur, regional agribusiness award-winner and University of New England alumnus David Mailler is the recipient of the university’s 2020 Rising Star award. Read more

ANPC to create first Indigenous biobank in WA

Researchers from Murdoch University’s Australian National Phenome Centre have teamed with Noongyar Elders in a project to create the world’s first ‘living biobank’ specific to Western Australia’s First Nations people. Read more



Novel solar panels created from upcycled fruit and veg

A Filipino student’s ingenious solar technology utilises high-energy luminescent particles in natural dyes made from surplus fruit and veg to capture scattered UV and convert it to clean, green power. Read more

Local pulse-crop processing key to profiting from plant-based trend

A new study shows that local processing capability is key to Australian producers cashing in on rising demand for plant based protein. Read more

Israeli innovators explore new ways to pick hard-to-reach fruit

Israeli start-up Tevel has developed flying fruit-pickers: drones linked to control platforms that can harvest everything from pome, stone and citrus fruit to avocadoes, non-stop, 24-7. Read more

Fresh Select, CSIRO partner to upcycle wasted vegetables

Australia’s national science organisation has teamed with vegie producer Fresh Select to launch manufacturing company, Nutri V, which will process surplus veg into supplements and snacks. Read more

iChemE case studies showcase Australia’s chemical engineering successes

Compiled by UNSW’s Cordelia Selomulya and iChemE’s Peter Slane, these case studies showcase chemical-engineering solutions to key challenges in energy, water, environment and health. Read more



2021 FoodTech 500

Applications for 2021 open

Attention, agrifood-tech start-ups and SMEs! The annual FoodTech 500 is a hotly contested hotlist for a reason: Inclusion guarantees your business international visibility. Earlybird applications welcome. Read more

Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation 2020

8-10 December 2020

This year’s ACRA will be live-streamed over three days from CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies, in the emerging robotics hub of Brisbane, Queensland. Read more