New Centre for Organics Research planned for Northern Rivers

Published 8 December 2016
Centre for Organics Research

The Northern Rivers’ reputation as 'clean and green' will be further enhanced by a Centre for Organics Research to be created through a new collaboration between Southern Cross University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

The Department will contribute $2 million during a five-year funding period to be matched by the University including through the contribution of staff and facilities.

At the announcement of the collaboration, state Member for Lismore The Hon Thomas George highlighted the value of the collaboration between the two organisations to the Northern Rivers.

"The DPI has a presence at Wollongbar, Alstonville and Grafton and a deep understanding of the value of agriculture to our region. The University has a world-leading reputation in plant genetics and related fields. There is growing global interest and huge potential in all aspects of organics, so this is a big opportunity for our region," Mr George said.

Southern Cross University Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the vision for the Centre was to create a world-leading facility for all aspects of organics research.

"Creating this Centre in partnership with the Department is a natural fit. We are already working on a number of projects and the Centre represents an exciting extension of the relationship between the two organisations," Professor Mackenzie said.

The University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said the interests of the Centre would be broad.

“We expect to attract partners who will have their own research priorities and problems to solve. It is a contemporary field with great potential to innovate.

“The Centre for Organics Research will build on Australia’s reputation for food safety, security and export to key markets world-wide. It is also of great relevance to our region. It complements the work under way at our Lismore campus hosting the $13.8 million federal government Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot program which is providing Australian farmers with knowledge and skills to boost their returns at the farm gate.”

DPI Chief Scientist Dr Phil Wright said this was an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with the University to invest in and conduct the critical science to underpin the future of the organics industry in NSW and Australia.

“The Centre will be important on a national scale and we hope it will be a catalyst to attract further interest and investment in organics research nationally and internationally,” Dr Wright said.

Recruitment for the Director of the Centre will commence shortly and a joint research symposium to launch the Centre is being planned for the first half of next year.

Photo: (from left) Professor Graham King, Director Southern Cross Plant Science, Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker, NSW DPI Chief Scientist Dr Phil Wright, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor AM, Thomas George state Member for Lismore and Lorraine Gordon, Director of Farm Co-Operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program (Farming Together).

Media contact: Brigid Veale head of Communications and Publications Southern Cross University, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.