The Australian Government will invest $151.5 million in four new Cooperative Research Centres focussing on agriculture and transport.
Three of the new centres will target the agricultural sector with a focus on products from honey bees, complex soil management and boosting the digital capacity of our food industry.
A fourth announced CRC will develop new technology solutions to improve Australia's traffic.
Funded with $39.5 million over 10 years, the CRC for High Performance Soils aims to address complex soil management issues that threaten the sustainability of many farming businesses due to soil degradation, the rising cost of nutrients and competing land use. To this end it will integrate research across diverse fields including soil science, big data, sensor technology, nanotechnology, environmental science, social sciences and agricultural and farm management. The project will be led by the University of Newcastle, and involve 42 partners contributing $136 million cash and in-kind.
The CRC for Honey Bee Products will be funded with $7 million over five years. It responds to the increased demand for 'clean and green' products internationally and the Australian Manuka honey. In addition to inter-disciplinary research, it will also provide a training platform for continuous improvement of the industry. The CRC will be able to draw on over $19 million in cash and in-kind contributions from its partners.
The Food Agility CRC, funded with $50 million over 10 years will bring together more than 50 partners to develop and use digital technologies across the food value chain. Among the potential benefits resulting from this are that producers will be able to respond to rapidly changing consumer preferences, and can implement environmentally and socially sustainable practices driven by data. It will also reduce uncertainty to incentivise investment. The CRC will leverage almost $162 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
Through digital and evolving vehicle technologies the iMove CRC aims to develop intelligent transport systems in Australia that will improve traffic flow and offer real time choice to travelers and freight operators. The CRC will be funded with $55 million over 10 years matched with $178.8 million in cash and in-kind participant contributions.