Science and Innovation company Plant & Food Research Australia is establishing a base at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus – a move that will boost research and innovation in South Australia’s horticulture and agri-food sectors.

Already working with the University on agricultural product development, and almond orchard systems and harvest technologies, the co-location will drive research collaborations aimed at enhancing production, sustainability and value-adding in the horticulture, food and agriculture industries.

Plant & Food Research Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of the New Zealand science organisation Plant & Food Research, a NZ Government-owned Crown Research Institute.

“The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus has been at the heart of development of agriculture and food industries in South Australia right from the start,” says the University of Adelaide’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen.

“Now with more than 250 academic staff at the University directly involved in agrifood and wine education and research, we continue to lead research and innovation in these sectors, which are the key drivers for the South Australian economy,” Professor Rathjen says.

Plant & Food Research Australia is setting up offices and laboratories among University facilities on the Waite campus. The company is a partner in the new University of Adelaide-led Research Consortium – Agricultural Product Development, increasing the value of agricultural waste and turning it into new products; and has formal agreement in place to work with the University’s Adelaide Glycomics on complex carbohydrates and their potential in a range of sectors.

“Bringing Plant & Food Research to South Australia is an example of the University’s research expertise, facilities and connections attracting international industry to Adelaide,” says Professor Vincent Bulone, Research Consortium Lead Investigator and Director of Adelaide Glycomics at the University’s Waite campus.

Pictured at the Urrbrae House launch of the Plant & Food Research labs at Waite are (from left to right): Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Hon. Tim Whetstone; Member for Waite, Sam Duluk MP; University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen; Chief Scientist of South Australia Professor Caroline McMillen; Plant & Food Research Group General Manager, Marketing and Innovation Dr Gavin Ross; Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment the Hon. David Ridgway.

“The innovation from our research programs will build industry sustainability and value-adding, and produce new, future-facing, high-value jobs in agriculture and food, and other industries.”

Dr Gavin Ross, Plant & Food Research Group General Manager, Marketing and Innovation, says: “Science is a complicated business, requiring large teams with a vast array of skills and infrastructure, and generating large data sets that require new and sophisticated procedures for analysis.

“Location at the Waite gives us ready access to complementary facilities and skills within the University and other partner organisations, along with a well-trained pool of students at the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

“Waite has a world-wide reputation for excellence and we look forward to building on past collaborations in working closely with industry, our clients and funding bodies.”

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Hon. Tim Whetstone, says: “Globally there is a growing demand for the safe, healthy food for which South Australia is well known.

“We welcome Plant & Food Research Australia to South Australia. The increased research capabilities will further the state’s reputation as a world leader in agricultural and food research, and help take advantage of the tremendous potential for growth in the horticulture and agri-food sectors.”

Plant & Food Research also has a collaboration with the University’s almond breeding program, and has major projects in other nut crops and in pollination across a range of crops.

The company has also bred several new plant varieties commercialised and grown in Australia, including Jazz™, Envy™ and Rockit™ brand apples, and potatoes licensed to South Australian potato growers Mitolo.

Their new offices and laboratory space at Waite are situated in the Northern Barns.

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