Partners for profit

Partnerships between private and public sector plant breeders are the key to improving efficiency.

According to GRDC managing director John Lovett who spoke at this year’s Annual Sunflower Conference, the sunflower model, which began with public sector scientists and ended with private seed companies, will proliferate.

“Private companies carry out a significant amount of research in the sunflower industry,” he said. “We won’t replace or duplicate that, instead we’ll complement it.

The research with molecular markers of rust resistance in sunflowers is a classic example.

“With the agreement of our research partner, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI), we’ll make the markers available on a fee-for-service basis to the private sector. It will use them to pyramid different rust-resistant genes in commercial hybrids.

The markers will also create efficiencies in private sector breeding programs, speeding up the development of more durable rust-resistant varieties for growers.

“We don’t want to make money through the commercialisation of research. We do want to deliver new technology to growers as quickly and as inexpensively as possible and we can’t do that on our own,” he told his audience.

Professor Lovett said that strategic alliances between the private and public sector would allow the GRDC to make larger and potentially more powerful investments.

Program 4.1.1 Contact: Mr John Cullen 02 6272 5525

Region North