The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON to lead new global CRC for High Performance Soils

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A University of Newcastle (UON) led Co-Operative Research Centre (CRC) bid has attracted $39.5 million from the Government to establish a ten year global CRC for High Performance Soils (CRC-HPS), announced today by Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO.

The CRC-HPS will bring together 42 partners spanning industry, government, research, not for profit and business sectors to help bridge the gap between soil science and farm management. The investment from government will be supported by more than $136 million in contributions from industry and other partners (cash and in-kind) over ten years.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said the CRC-HPS would address critical barriers to high performance soils by developing real solutions, with a focus on how these solutions could be adopted throughout the farming community.

“The Australian agricultural industry is worth $48 billion and feeds 60 million people, however our soils are highly vulnerable and productivity at risk due to increasing soil degradation, the rising cost of nutrient inputs and competing land use.”

Aimed at overcoming the most complex soil management issues, the CRC-HPS will integrate research across diverse fields including soil science, big data, sensor technology, nanotechnology, environmental science, social sciences and agricultural and farm management.

Professor Hall said the successful bids attested to UON’s position as a global leader in collaborative, high impact research.

“We have a long and impressive track record of drawing in government, industry, business and other research institutions to collaborate on research that has global, real-world outcomes. Today’s outstanding results highlight our strengths in these areas and we are incredibly excited to get this critical research underway.”

“Over the past three years, our extensive consultation with industry and farmers has indicated they want more research on developing innovative technologies and approaches to more effectively translate our existing knowledge into practical, on-farm solutions. In simple terms, farmers want research on how they can improve soils, rather than what caused the problem.”

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Caroline McMillen, said the CRC-HPS would help the industry to adopt practices that would have a transformational impact across the sector.

The CRC-HPS is a consortium of the following 42 member groups:
The Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources, South Australian Grain Industry Trust Fund, Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association (Inc), Ecocatalysts Pty Ltd, South East Water Corporation, Facey Group Inc, Wimmera Catchment Authority, Australian Organics Recycling Association Limited, Arris Pty Ltd, Landmark Operations Limited, Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, Central West Farming Systems Inc., The Liebe Group Inc., Birchip Cropping Group Inc., Southern Precision Agriculture Association (SPAA) Incorporated, Mackillop Farm Management Group Inc., Farmlink Research Limited, Hart Field Site Group Incorporated, Holbrook Landcare Group, The Gillamii Centre, Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd, Burdekin Productivity Services Limited, Riverine Plains Incorporated, The University of Newcastle, Charles Sturt University, The Trustee for the Soils for Life Trust, Southern Cross University, University of Tasmania, Murdoch University, Federation University Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regions, Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation Inc., West Midlands Group Incorporated, Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc., North Central Catchment Management Authority, Southern Farming Systems Ltd, Department of Industry Skills and Regional Development, Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Incorporated, University of Southern Queensland, HLM Asia Group Limited, Landcare Research (New Zealand), Kansas State University.

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