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Digital agriculture the focus of new Curtin-Murdoch centre

Media release

Western Australia’s new Centre for Digital Agriculture (CDA), tasked with developing new technologies that will shape the agricultural industry of the future, was last night launched by Curtin University and Murdoch University.

Curtin University Head of School of Molecular and Life Sciences Professor Mark Buntine, Murdoch University Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor, Food Futures Professor Peter Davies, Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry, Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan, Curtin University Chancellor Dr Andrew Crane and Premier’s Fellow in Agriculture and Food, Professor Simon Cook, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences and adjunct Professor at Murdoch University. (credit: Ezra Alcantra)

Funded by the Western Australian Government’s Royalties for Regions program and officially opened by Agriculture and Food Minister, the Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, the CDA will bring together research and industry specialists from Western Australia and beyond to investigate the potential of new digital technologies to advance agriculture in the immediate and long-term.

Academics from Curtin and Murdoch will lead research and related activities, including engagement with regional WA and collaborations with industry, government and other institutions as they pursue technological progress in the agriculture sector.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the CDA will take a collaborative approach to researching the potential impact of digital technology on agriculture in WA.

“Researchers at the CDA will harness the latest technological advances for the benefit of the sector with a particular focus on how the digitalisation of agriculture is likely to be different to that in other industries and what can be done to support change and adaptation among the CDA’s industry partners,” Professor Moran said.

“The increasing digitalisation of agriculture in WA stands to present a unique set of challenges for farmers and those in the industry. The innovative projects undertaken at the centre will benefit not just our agricultural industry but regional WA and the State more broadly.”

Murdoch University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation Professor David Morrison said big data and digital technology had the potential to transform the agriculture industry, providing farmers and policy makers with tools and information to help them make informed decisions resulting in sustainability and improved productivity.

“The Centre for Digital Agriculture will facilitate this transformation, linking researchers together with industry and farmers in their paddocks to help producers make better decisions and manage risks like climate change, rising energy costs and market volatility,” Professor Morrison said.

“As a research-led university, our strength lies in our collaborations so we are very proud to be partnering with Curtin and the State Government on this exciting new centre. We look forward to seeing how CDA researchers and partners will translate the very cutting edge research in digital agriculture into user friendly solutions for producers across the state.”

The CDA is part of a research agreement between Curtin, Murdoch and the WA Government’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, to develop WA’s research excellence in agricultural science and building the capability of the agriculture sector in WA.

The CDA is led by Premier’s Fellow in Agriculture and Food, Professor Simon Cook, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences and adjunct Professor at Murdoch University.

Visit the Centre for Digital Agriculture website here.