New Grains Research Precinct officially opened
Date: 16 Dec 2020
New grains research facilities in Perth are set to help drive efficient and collaborative crop research, including in the area of disease, and enable new research outcomes to reach growers faster.
The $7.45 million Grains Research Precinct, comprising facilities at Murdoch and Curtin Universities, was officially opened by Senator Slade Brockman (representing Federal Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud) and Western Australian Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan, during an event at Murdoch University today.
The precinct was made possible by a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Infrastructure grant in 2017 and has significant co-investment from Murdoch University, Curtin University and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).
GRDC Chair John Woods said that in addition to the original $3 million Infrastructure Grant contribution, the GRDC had committed an extra $1.5m to the project, taking its total investment to $4.5m.
“The project’s partners have also committed a combined co-contribution of $2.95m, including $2.255m from Murdoch University, $445,000 from Curtin University and $250,000 from DPIRD,” Mr Woods said.
“The new Grains Research Precinct provides vital infrastructure to be used for research in crop pathology, plant physiology and genetic improvement, and will benefit grain growers in Western Australia and nationally, and support science capability development.
“This infrastructure will enable researchers to screen genetic responses to crop disease under optimum environmental conditions, and to achieve pre-breeding and genetic improvement through developing and evaluating germplasm with enhanced resistance to diseases and abiotic and biotic stresses.
“It will also foster further coordination and collaboration between the institutions involved.
“This initiative is a great example of how Australian grain growers benefit from the research, development and extension (RD&E) model delivered by the GRDC that has public, private, national and international leverage and meets the priority needs of growers – wherever they are in Australia.”
The Grains Research Precinct is mostly centred at Murdoch University but also includes a collaborative facility at Curtin University near the Centre for Crop and Disease Management. The precinct infrastructure consists of:
- Four Physical Containment Level 1 (PC1) glasshouses and preparation rooms
- Four Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2) glasshouses, ante rooms, preparation room and steriliser rooms
- 0.9 hectares of irrigated, netted field plot area
- A small office and amenities area
- LED-lit and temperature-controlled Growth Facility at Curtin University.
Murdoch University Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor, Food Futures Professor Peter Davies said the work undertaken at the precinct was vital at a time of climate change impacting production and increasing global demand for food.
“Seventy per cent more food will be needed to feed the world’s 9.5 billion people by 2050, so the work we are doing in Western Australia will have a significant impact across the world,” Professor Davies said.
“Improving the quality and yield of grains through our research and development will help unlock unproductive land for production, as well as increase yield on our already productive lands.
“Our work will also enable farmers in third world countries to improve their production capacity by utilising our knowledge and skills, and the outcomes of our research.”
Images from the Grains Research Precinct launch will be available by contacting email@example.com
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