New $2.1 million grains research centre at CSU

19 DECEMBER 2013

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has secured Australian Research Council (ARC) funding to establish a new $2.15 million Centre for food science research.

Associate Professor Chris Blanchard.Charles Sturt University (CSU) has secured Australian Research Council (ARC) funding to establish a new $2.15 million Centre for food science research.
The ARC Training Centre for Functional Grains, funded through the Industrial Transformation Training Centres program for 2014 to 2016, is being hailed as a valuable opportunity to add to the Australian grains industry.
The new Centre will be a research hub for grain scientists from CSU, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and CSIRO, and will focus on three commodities - rice, pulses, and canola.
Also involved is the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation – a collaborative research alliance between CSU and NSW DPI.
Other partners include GrainGrowers, MSM Milling, Flavour Makers, Teys Australia, Woods Grains, Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation.
Centre Director and CSU Associate Professor in Food Science Chris Blanchard said, "We want to improve the profitability of the Australian grains industry and transform the sector into a high value export industry.
"Rice, pulses and canola account for $2.5 billion of earnings when sold as commodities, with even greater economic potential for the Australian economy through value-adding."
The aims of the new Centre include: identifying the preferences of Australian and international grain customers; improving grain storage; developing new grain based products with enhanced sensory and health attributes: and training the next generation of food science researchers.
"We want to transform the three commodities by examining the functionality of food, particularly the growing demand for healthy food or food with novel applications," Associate Professor Blanchard said.
"What is called the 'functional food market' was worth $US25 billion globally in 2011, yet Australia had only a 1.6 per cent share."
CSU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Andrew Vann has praised Associate Professor Blanchard and his team for securing the competitive ARC funds.
"The ARC received 13 proposals for 2014 under the Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme, with only seven of those successful," Professor Vann said.
"Charles Sturt University's position in the food bowl of Australia offers natural linkages between researchers and food-processors of these major commodities."
Scientists involved in the new Centre at CSU in Wagga Wagga include food scientists, supply chain management experts, sensory scientists, analytical chemists, behavioural scientists and process engineering experts. It will host three postdoctoral scientists and nine PhD students.

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