The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON to lead new global CRC for High Performance Soils

Wednesday, 8 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.

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President - Global Engagement and Partnerships, Associate 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.

Delivering better transport systems

The University of Newcastle is also a successful partner in the iMOVE CRC which has received a $55 million federal grant for a ten-year intelligent transport R7D centre to deliver better transport systems for Australia.

More productive and safer transport systems country-wide are an important step closer with today’s announcement that the federal government is supporting a new intelligent transport cooperative research centre (iMOVE CRC) with a $55 million R&D grant.

The iMOVE CRC has been in development for over 18 months and is strongly supported by industry, technology innovators, state road authorities, federal and state government departments and industry associations. These partners are complemented by Australia’s best research talent in fields relating to the development of intelligent transport systems.

The centre’s establishment is well-timed due to the challenges currently faced by Australia’s transport systems and the rapidly evolving development of technologies and business models that can help solve these issues.


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