The Australian National University (ANU) and the CSIRO have opened a new collaborative research centre to focus on environment, agriculture and global food supplies.
The ANU-CSIRO Centre for Genomics, Metabolomics and Bioinformatics (CGMB) combines the strengths of two of Australia’s best research institutions and aims to make discoveries in plant biological science that will benefit environmental management and crop deployment.
The new centre is located across various sites on the ANU campus and the neighbouring CSIRO Black Mountain facility, and includes a new laboratory and computer facility, a Joint Mass Spectroscopy Facility and new glass houses.
The centre will also make use of the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), also on the ANU campus.
“We are looking to foster advances essential to food security and environmental stewardship in the face of climate change, population growth and land degradation,” said centre Director Professor Eric Stone.
The Centre will also include an Ecogenomics and Bioinformatics Lab (EBL), which combines experimental and computer elements of research under the one roof, enabling researchers to generate and analyse data at the same time in the same location.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the partnership between the two institutions has already led to ground-breaking research in photosynthesis, plant immunity, disease resistance and energy efficient crops.
“This continued investment in plant science research means Australia will lead the world in the development of crops that are able to withstand the rigours of a changing climate, resist the ravages of disease, and utilise water, sunlight, and nutrients more efficiently,” Professor Schmidt said.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the new centre created more opportunities to realise the real-life value of cutting-edge research.
“This hub of collaboration will further enable CSIRO and ANU to work together through the process of discovery, invention and innovation to deliver benefit to Australia and the world from their breakthrough advances in biological and data sciences,” Dr Marshall said.
“The further development of our partnership through the CGMB will both strengthen our science and deepen our impact.
“It’s a great example of our 2020 Strategy – Australia’s Innovation Catalyst – in action. We’re building a tangible bridge to enable excellent science through collaboration with our outstanding universities, allowing us to deliver real world solutions to global challenges.”
The new centre is receiving funding from the federal government’s Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), of which Dr Marshall is trustee.