Award of new plant centre "A triumph for S.A. science"
Friday, 10 May 2002
The University of Adelaide's successful bid to host the $32 million National Centre for Plant Functional Genomics is "a vote of confidence in South Australia's scientists and a triumph for the state", University Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Blake AO said today.
The Centre, which will initially employ 100 scientists, will play a pivotal role in the growth of the country's agricultural bioscience industry, developing molecular breeding technologies for the grain industries (primarily wheat and barley). It will receive funding of $20 million over five years from the Australian Research Council and the Grains Research and Development Corporation and a further $12 million from the State Government. The numbers employed at the Centre are expected to grow as it attracts new research grants and commercial investment.
The University of Adelaide bid was developed in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland and Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Professor Blake said a new building would be erected at the Waite campus to house the Waite-based research team and the bioscience companies likely to be spun off from the Centre's research. Through its financial support for the Centre, the new South Australian government had emphatically demonstrated its commitment to science and technology.
"South Australia already has a competitive advantage in agricultural biotechnology, particularly plant biotechnology, based on internationally- competitive research groups at the Waite campus," Professor Blake said. "This has played a significant part in our success in securing the new Centre for South Australia against strong interstate competition. The Centre will be the only one of its kind in Australia, and it represents an outstanding achievement for the state. It is further recognition of South Australia's capacity to lead the country - and the world - in developing innovative and commercially valuable platform technologies for one of Australia's most important export industries.
"The Centre will see the establishment of a major international research program on the Waite campus. It will develop technologies to produce plant varieties that are resistant to drought, salinity and other environments that threaten food production throughout the world."
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