SA government adds $10 million to biotech facility

Monday, 27 November 2006

The South Australian Government has today announced $10 million in funding for the proposed Plant Accelerator at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus.

This brings the total of Federal and State Government funding for the National Plant Phenomics Facility to $25 million.

The national facility, which consists of the Plant Accelerator in Adelaide and the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre in Canberra, will be the first of its kind in the public sector anywhere in the world.

The collaborative facility will be led by the University of Adelaide and involves research partners at CSIRO Plant Industry and the Australian National University (ANU), as well as industry groups and Federal and South Australian government departments.

The South Australian Minister for Science and Information Economy, the Hon. Karlene Maywald MP, has announced $10 million towards the establishment of the Plant Accelerator in Adelaide.

This follows this morning's announcement by the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, of $15 million in funding for the national facility.

The Plant Accelerator will consist of a series of hi-tech greenhouses and laboratories that can accommodate 160,000 plants a year. It will use robotic techniques to take 3D images of plants, recording their size, colour and temperature, and provide an insight into overall plant health.

"The State Government funding, in addition to the Federal funding, is welcome support for the work we are doing," says Professor Mark Tester, Federation Fellow with the University of Adelaide's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

"The new facilities will be world class in every respect and will help in national efforts to provide a competitive edge for Australia's $27 billion annual agriculture export industry."

Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha says the University's world-famous Waite Campus continues to reap rewards for industry and the community.

"The $25 million in funding from Federal and South Australian governments is a fantastic result for the University of Adelaide, which is leading the research effort both here in Adelaide and in Canberra under the banner of the national facility," Professor McWha says.

"It is a prime example of how our University researchers are responsive to the needs of industry and the scientific and general communities, and it will further enhance the Waite's reputation as a jewel in the world's agricultural research crown."

Professor Geoff Fincher, Director of the Waite Campus, says of the $25 million in government funding announced today, $20 million would come directly into the Waite.

"That is a major achievement for any Australian university campus. It is further proof of the national and international significance of our research, which plays such an important role in the food and drink we consume, in our economy, and in our everyday lives," he says.

Original story:
$15 million for world-class biotech facility


Contact Details

Professor Mark Tester
Australian Plant Phenomics Facility
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7159
Mobile: 0423 784 428

Professor Geoff Fincher
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls
Waite Campus
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7296
Mobile: 0419 821 100

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762