$1 million from Commonwealth for new Adelaide-China research centre

Friday, 15 April 2016

A major new Australia-China research centre based at the University of Adelaide aims to make a difference to human nutrition by developing healthier wheat and rice, translating those crops to agricultural production, and into the diets of people right around the world.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Christopher Pyne, has today awarded $1 million in Federal funding to the new Australia-China Joint Centre of Grains for Health.

The centre - to be run by the University of Adelaide in partnership with China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University - brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in agricultural science, human health and nutrition, and food value chains.

Today's funding announcement will bring the total value of the centre to $4.9 million thanks to cash and in-kind support from research and industry partners.

"The challenge for our centre is to generate new grains with proven long-term health benefits for consumers and their children that meet high nutritional standards, that are also appealing to customers and the market," says the Director of the new centre, Professor Bob Gibson.

"On current projections, young adults in most countries will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of the worldwide rise in non-communicable diseases. These are chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that kill an estimated 38 million people each year.

"Millions of healthy life years are currently lost to such diseases in Australia and globally, and in China the rapidly growing middle-class is set to endure increased levels of non-communicable diseases unless we intervene now," Professor Gibson says.

"To do this, our centre's work will span the fundamental science of grains development and human health, through to the practical application of our science to agricultural industry, and all the way to market and – hopefully – directly onto families' breakfast and dinner tables, and into school lunch boxes right around the world."

The new Australia-China Joint Centre of Grains for Health further deepens the relationship between the University of Adelaide, a member of Australia's Group of Eight (Go8) universities, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is a member of the prestigious China 9 universities.

Adelaide and Shanghai Jiao Tong currently have a Joint Laboratory for Plant Science and Breeding based at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus, and a joint professorial appointment (distinguished Chinese plant scientist Professor Dabing Zhang) and other joint research staff.

Other partners in the new research centre include: AGT (Australian Grain Technologies), GrainCorp, Bright Rice (Group) Co. Ltd, China Agricultural University, the Chinese Academy of Science, Zhengzhou University, and Jiangsu Tianfeng Seed Industry Co. Ltd.


Contact Details

Professor Bob Gibson
Email: robert.gibson@adelaide.edu.au
Director, Australia-China Joint Centre of Grains for Health; Co-Director, FOODplus Research Centre
Professor of Functional Food Science, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4333
Mobile: +61 409 697 077

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