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Curtin to lead WA node of agriculture and food industry CRC

Media release

Curtin University is set to play a key role in the $160 million Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) established to fast-track the digital transformation of Australia’s food industry.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos, announced today that the Food Agility CRC would receive $50m in funding over ten years through the Federal Government’s CRC program.

The successful bid consortium was led by the University of Technology Sydney, Curtin University and QUT.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Chris Moran, said the Food Agility CRC would deliver real impact for the food industry across Australia throughout the supply chain and would contribute to the ongoing sustainability of the food and agriculture industry.

“Curtin is delighted to be a lead partner in the Food Agility CRC. Our involvement reflects Curtin’s strong industry engagement and builds on our capabilities in agriculture and data analytics,” Professor Moran said.

The Food Agility CRC will act as an independent intermediary, accelerating research adoption and commercialisation through supporting AgTech start-ups and small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve digital services to the sector.

Professor Mark Gibberd, Co-Director of Curtin’s Centre Crop and Disease Management, said the funding announcement was an important step in working with industry to transition into more data-intensive agriculture production systems.

“Australia’s agriculture and food industry is lagging behind our international competitors in embracing the digital age, and the Food Agility CRC will be vital in increasing our international competiveness,” Professor Gibberd said.

Curtin will lead the WA node of the CRC, which will focus on improving WA’s competitiveness in data-intensive production systems throughout the supply chain.

The WA consortium also includes the WA Government, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and a number of small- to medium-sized food, agriculture and technology organisations.

The Food Agility consortium brings together 54 partners across the food value chain – including technology providers, food production companies, and government agencies across Australia.

The inaugural Premier’s Fellow in Agriculture and Food, Professor Simon Cook ‒ jointly supported by Curtin and Murdoch universities and the WA Office of Science ‒ is leading a research team in WA to develop WA’s capabilities in big data and agriculture.

Professor Cook will play a key role in the cooperative research centre and will ensure that the Premier’s Fellowship program in WA is closely aligned with the national Food Agility CRC program.

The Food Agility CRC has $160m in cash and in-kind commitments from partners. It will be funded with an additional $50m over ten years through the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres program.

For further information on the Food Agility CRC please see: http://www.foodagility.com/