The University of Newcastle, Australia

Growing Australia’s food industry on menu

Friday, 29 May 2015

A newly established collaboration on the Central Coast, led by the University of Newcastle, will contribute to growing Australia's food and beverage industry and increasing the industry's exports.

ARC Training Centre for Food %26 Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation
University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor Research %26 Innovation Professor Deborah Hodgson, Australian Research Council Executive Director for Biological Sciences and Biotechnology Dr Fiona Cameron and ARC Training Centre for Food %26 Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation Director Professor Rick Middleton.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Food & Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC), hosted by the University of Newcastle, will train the next generation of multi-disciplinary researchers capable of designing and managing safe, sustainable, and cost-effective food supply chains.

The training centre received $2.1 million in ARC funding through the Industrial Transformation Research Program, which will employ three postdoctoral researchers and support 10 PhD students.

Based at the University of Newcastle's Central Coast campus, the centre will bring together a diverse set of research organisations and industrial partners to ensure the research carried out, and training provided, are both at the cutting-edge and industrially relevant.

The food industry is important to the Australian economy with 15 per cent of the national workforce involved in food production and food exports equating to $30.5 billion each year.

The National Food Plan White Paper states the vision for Australia's food system is a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply, supporting access to nutritious and affordable food.  Key to achieving this vision are safe, sustainable, and cost-effective, food supply chains.

The ARC Training Centre for Food & Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation will support the development of new and innovative postharvest treatments to improve horticultural market access and reduce waste in the horticulture supply chain.

Centre Director Professor Rick Middleton said the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre scheme had a focus on postgraduate research that was directly linked to industry needs.

"The ARC Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation brings together researchers both in operations research (optimising logistics) and in food science."

The University's School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Environmental and Life Sciences form part of the training centre.

Researchers at the centre will collaborate with The University of Sydney, The Georgia Institute of Technology, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Ghent University Global Campus, as well as industry organisations Coca Cola Amatil (Australia), Sunrice, Batlow Fruit, and the Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company.

For further information visit: www.foodsupplychainopt.org

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