ANU to drive farming innovation with new centre
27 August 2018

The Australian National University (ANU) and CSIRO will set up a new farming innovation centre at ANU to advance research, education and technology in farming and global food production, thanks to more than $1 million in new funding commitments.    

The ACT Government has announced it will contribute $500,000 to help establish the new Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology, and ANU will match this contribution. ANU and the CSIRO will also provide additional in-kind support valued at $270,000.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt welcomed the funding announcement from the ACT Government.

"We need to find smart ways to double food production by 2050 to feed the world, which will be no easy task with a rapidly changing climate and other problems that farmers face to improve crop yields," Professor Schmidt said.

"The Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology at ANU will be part of the solution to that big challenge.

"It is a great partnership between the national university and the national science organisation.

"The Centre will bring together expertise from across ANU and CSIRO - particularly in environmental sciences, plant and agricultural sciences, engineering, computer science and economics - and apply that expertise to farming education, research and innovation."

Professor Owen Atkin, who leads the Division of Plant Sciences at the ANU Research School of Biology, said the Centre would drive industry innovation and productivity in farming and food production across the Asia-Pacific.

He said the Centre would provide an environment in which start-ups, small-medium enterprises and agri-tech firms can directly engage with researchers from ANU and CSIRO to build relationships, co-develop ideas and solve problems.

"We will have deeper and broader engagement with farmers and technology developers than what's being achieved now in Australia, better collaborations between industry and research, greater support for start-ups and we'll support student internships with industry," Professor Atkin said.

"We will connect to existing programs such as those from CSIRO, the ACT and New South Wales governments and Cicada Innovations, an organisation that supports technology entrepreneurs."