Funding for food innovation welcomed

La Trobe University has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of $1.5 million in funding as part of its 2022-23 Budget to explore the co-location of agrifood research and development capability at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne, that builds on the existing expertise within the Centre for Agribiosciences (AgriBio).

The Budget commitment, funded under the Government’s ‘Victorian Industry Fund,’ will enable the University to continue working in partnership with CSIRO and State Government towards the proposed establishment of the Australian Food Innovation Centre (AFIC). Designed in collaboration with industry, CSIRO and La Trobe, this will create a new national agrifood facility, to support the growth of agri-food businesses and help develop the State’s advanced manufacturing capability.

La Trobe University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Susan Dodds welcomed the Victorian Government funding, saying the Australian Food Innovation Centre would create a thriving hub for industry to benefit from local manufacturing, world-leading research and dedicated infrastructure facilities. She said it will also inspire new careers in food and fibre and provide significant opportunities for teaching and learning to support Australia’s growing agriculture and food sector.

“Australia’s food industry is our largest manufacturing industry but is currently without a dedicated national research and development hub that can facilitate collaboration across the sector and the scaling up of new products and innovations,” Professor Dodds said.

“Current economic modelling estimates AFIC would generate $6.9 billion of economic activity over 15 years, creating up to 3,000 jobs in the first decade and increasing Australia’s exports by up to $100 million per year.

“The Budget commitment is testament to the Victorian Government’s recognition of AFIC’s potential and the substantial benefits it will bring to the State, and the country. We very much look forward to working in partnership with CSIRO, government and industry to advance this exciting opportunity.”

It is envisaged AFIC will use breakthrough science and innovative technologies to ensure ideas are translated into commercialised outcomes, attracting global investors and partners, and becoming a beacon for industry seeking to access Australian and Asian markets.

The centre is proposed to be located within La Trobe’s vibrant Research and Innovation Precinct as part of La Trobe’s transformative University City of the Future initiative and will leverage La Trobe’s network of metro and regional campuses.

La Trobe University is world-class in agricultural sciences research and education, with strong industry links across the agriculture and food sector. La Trobe’s agriculture and food research and innovation capability includes the La Trobe Institute for Agriculture and Food (LIAF), a leading research institute for seed production, food and health, and the ARC Research Hub for Medicinal Agriculture, which brings together exceptional research capabilities in the fields of agriculture and biomedical sciences.

Image: CSIRO Food Innovation Centre (supplied by CSIRO)

Media Contact: Claire Bowers – - 9479 2315 / 0437279903