Brainstorm in Brisbane to create real world solutions on food security

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By Natalia Bateman, CoETPJune 27, 2019


World experts in food security will meet this week in Brisbane to address one of the most urgent challenges humanity is currently facing: how to improve crops to feed the growing population while dealing with the devastating impacts of drought, water insecurity and climate change.

“This Conference aims to connect with people whose common goal is real-world solutions for global food production challenges, including scientists, regulators, growers, agri-businesses, students, policy makers, and other future-focussed experts and leaders,” says ANU Professor Evans, Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis and Chair of the organising committee.

The “Innovations in Agriculture for Food Security” Conference is a meeting organised by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis and will take place at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, from the 30 July to the 3 June.

“Australian researchers are taking a pivotal role in projects that have a huge potential to increase food production by improving photosynthesis,” says ANU Professor Robert Furbank, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis.

As Robert S. Zeigler, Director General Emeritus, International Rice Research Institute, points out,  “Reengineering photosynthesis is the great frontier of plant biology. Unlike most fundamental biological research, this effort offers immediate benefit to the entire world. Success will markedly reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture, reduce areas under cultivation, and improve crop adaptation to climate change while more efficiently feeding our growing global population.”

“We now have issues of global impact that we must address with our science. This needs concerted action which embraces not only plant scientists but also crop breeders, funders, legislators, science communicators and the public. This Conference is intended to start the urgent interdisciplinary collaborations needed to translate research into innovations in the paddock,” Professor Furbank says.

The conference has an exciting program including innovations in plant science, climate change, big data modelling and robotics, regulatory issues, future gene editing and synthetic biology.

Professor Evans says these conference themes reflect an urgency that currently underlies all yield-based research and development programs.

“Conventional plant breeding is currently focused on yield, disease resistance and grain quality. New approaches are needed to facilitate a broader range of traits for breeders.”

“From a purely Australian perspective, the Ag-tech face of Australia a decade or two from now must look very different, if we are planning to meet the $100 billion Agricultural sector target set by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) “Talking 2030” whitepaper,” says Professor Furbank.

As part of the Conference, early career researchers will have the opportunity to attend a networking event on Sunday 30th of June, a unique opportunity to interact with industry, government and academic experts from all around the world.

The Conference is sponsored by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis, the Grain Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), BASF, the Australian Society of Plant Scientists, BASF, The Journal of Experimental Botany, Photon Systems Instruments, Western Sydney University, Li-Cor Biosciences, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-technology, the ARC Centre of Excellence on Plant Energy Biology, FLIR, PPSystems, John Morris Group and the International Society of Photosynthesis Research.

Media Contact:

Natalia Bateman, Communication Officer

ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis.

T: (02) 6125 1703

M: 0401 083 380


More information:

InnovAg 2019 Conference Program