Communique—Australia’s agriscience future

September 13, 2018
The deployment of technologies such as robotics, autonomous systems and remote sensing is part of a new wave of innovation in agriculture.
Photo: Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney

Leaders from Australia’s science and innovation sector met in Canberra today to discuss an ambitious vision for Australia’s rural research and innovation system over the coming decade.

The forum was convened by the Australian Academy of Science and its National Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

It involved participants from Australia’s global and local agricultural biotechnology and agrochemical companies, the Rural Research and Development Corporations, the Commonwealth and state governments, CSIRO and Australian universities.

There was clear consensus that Australia is leading from a position of strength in agriscience. We have long-term mechanisms for research and commercialisation and a strong global reputation for safe, high-quality food production and manufacturing.

We have world-leading expertise in Australia’s challenging agricultural environment—dry-land broad-acre crops, meat and livestock production, horticulture, wine, fisheries and forestry to name just a few.

There was also recognition of the opportunities and the challenges inherent in new and disruptive technologies—remote monitoring and automated or autonomous planting, harvesting and processing systems for example—as well as the increasing globalisation of food value chains.

Priorities

Moving forward, participants agreed on a number of priorities:

  • The critical nexus between food and agriculture with nutrition, health and sustainability
  • Building a culture of trust and cooperation within and between agricultural research and innovations companies, research organisations and the community
  • Increasing and enhancing the scope and value of Australia’s participation in global value chains
  • Sustained, long-term investment in agricultural and related infrastructure to enable current and emerging technologies
  • Better support for commercialisation of research into new products and services, including improved arrangements for management of IP and enhanced incentives for investors
  • Sensible reform and coordination of Australia’s regulatory environment for both existing and emerging agricultural products and technologies
  • Enhanced mechanisms to coordinate, share and benefit from big agricultural data collected by both private companies and governments.

Participants acknowledged the strong commitment to Australia’s rural science and innovation sector from the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, and welcomed the opportunity to engage with the several reviews currently in progress.

Participating organisations

  • AgriFutures Australia
  • Agri-Science Queensland
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology
  • AusBiotech
  • Australian Academy of Science
  • Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering
  • Australian Centre for Robotic Vision
  • Australian Farm Institute
  • Australian Meat Processor Corporation
  • Australian Pork Ltd
  • Bayer Australia Ltd
  • Cotton Research and Development Corporation
  • Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations
  • CropLife Australia
  • CSIRO
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Corteva AgriSciences
  • EY
  • Farm Animal Research Australia
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Food Agility CRC
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd
  • Howard Partners
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Sugar Research Australia Ltd
  • The Crawford Fund
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Melbourne
  • University of Western Australia
  • Wine Australia

© 2018 Australian Academy of Science

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