The University of Newcastle today welcomed a new partnership that will further strengthen research and assist industry growth in the Central Coast region.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to develop a cooperative relationship and collaborative research program in the plant and food sciences areas.
Under the agreement, DPI staff will relocate to the Central Coast campus to join University researchers and share laboratory and technical facilities. University staff will have use of the DPI Field Station at Somersby.
University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nicholas Saunders, said the MOU would enhance collaborative research in an area of great strength for the Central Coast campus.
"Plant and food sciences are emerging as important research areas at the Central Coast campus, with a number of students undertaking postgraduate study in the field," Professor Saunders said.
"The MOU will be a significant boost to the resources available to students, and their research supervisors."
Research will focus on improving the quality of food crops during pre-harvest, how to improve the shelf life of food and improved methods of food harvesting.
Scientists are continually improving the quality of food supply and aim to ensure that food is appealing, safe and nutritious and has optimal taste, texture and functionality.
Local food manufacturers will have an advantage over competitors through easy access to the latest research and development.
In particular, the MOU will allow researchers to build on the University's green tea research program investigating the effects of growing conditions and post-harvest treatments to optimise the tea's quality and yield.
Professor Saunders said the MOU also bodes well for future collaborations with other research areas at the University including in water, energy, bio-security, reproduction and marine resources.