Plant research centre opens
31 July 2008

A unique Australian plant research centre designed to help tackle major global challenges such as climate change, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation and future food production was launched in Canberra today by Senator the Honourable Kim Carr, Australian Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope.

Co-located at ANU and the CSIRO’s Black Mountain site, the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre will attract plant scientists from across Australia and the world to Canberra by providing them with access to the next generation of robotic and imaging plant research tools.

“This Centre will put Australia at the forefront of global plant phenomics,” Senator Carr said. “It will be the first publicly-funded, publicly accessible facility of its kind in the world.

“Plant phenomics is a science that has the power to transform our lives. It can help us tackle the most pressing challenges of our time – including global food shortages, the demand for alternative fuels, and climate change.”

The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre is part of an initiative of the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) supported by the ACT and South Australian governments, CSIRO, ANU and the University of Adelaide.

“This world leading facility shows what can be achieved when governments and the research community work together. It shows the immense power of collaboration in maximising Australia’s innovation capacity,” Senator Carr said.

According to CSIRO Plant Industry Chief Dr Jeremy Burdon, the Centre will house sophisticated growing environments, glasshouse automation technologies, and leading edge digital imaging technologies and sophisticated software to measure plant growth and development.

“This equipment, resources and associated expertise and services are currently not available in Australia, but the Centre will make them readily available and affordable,” Dr Burdon said.

“The Centre will lead to the development of new and improved crops, healthier food, more sustainable agricultural practices, and improved maintenance and regeneration of biodiversity,” he said.

The Centre is Canberra’s node of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility located at CSIRO Plant Industry and ANU. RSB staff involved in the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility are Murray Badger, Susanne von Caemmerer, Barry Pogson, and John Evans. The Plant Accelerator will be the Adelaide node of the Facility located at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.

This news story has been kept for historical purposes, and content may now be out of date.