- Charles Sturt’s AgriPark signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia
- The University will help Digital Earth Australia use its database of satellite images for research and education to underpin growth in Australia’s agricultural industries
- The MoU allows for the collaborative development of research, courses, conferences and learning materials
Charles Sturt University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia program for a collaborative partnership through the University’s AgriPark.
Digital Earth Australia transforms free and open satellite imagery into insights about changes in Australia’s natural and built environments.
The MoU states the organisations will work together to develop teaching capabilities and programs, develop collaborative research projects and organise joint activities, such as courses, seminars, conferences and lectures.
It also includes the exchange of research and teaching staff, shared access to facilities, data and analysis systems and the creation of placement opportunities for staff and students.
Charles Sturt Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov said this partnership’s mutual benefits highlight the capabilities of a partnership with AgriPark and will ensure the University continues to expand its leadership in agricultural research and innovation.
“Charles Sturt University is dedicated to contributing to the sustainability and prosperity of Australia’s agricultural industries,” he said.
“As the country’s largest regional university, our staff and researchers have the knowledge and ability to make valuable contributions to the industry.
“This agreement with Geoscience Australia will enhance the capabilities of the University and AgriPark to develop research and innovation to benefit food and agriculture industries.”
The Digital Earth Australia program seeks to increase the uptake and use of satellite imagery and other earth observations by providing easier access to high-quality satellite data prepared for Australian conditions.
As well as enabling collaborative use of this technology, the partnership will also benefit the University’s digital farm project, the recently announced multi-million dollar Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, and the Institute for Land, Water and Society’s work on mapping water bodies.
Charles Sturt Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Michael Friend said the future of the AgriPark is looking bright as it continues to secure vital partnerships.
“With every new partnership, funding announcement, and MoU, the AgriPark in Wagga Wagga continues to grow as a premier hub for agricultural research and innovation,” he said.
“Our commitment to providing industry and stakeholders with access to our facilities and research that will benefit their organisations and the food and agriculture sector more broadly will see long-term benefits for the sustainability of the sector.
“Through the AgriPark and Drought Hub, we will be able to find the best applications for the images and information accumulated in Digital Earth Australia’s database.”
The Digital Earth Australia program has more than 30 years’ worth of satellite imagery and data that can provide value for land managers and agricultural producers, allowing them to see changes in drought conditions, vegetation, water quality and availability, and flood and bushfire patterns.
Director of Program Delivery for Digital Earth Australia Mr Trent Kershaw said this partnership will allow regional Australia to play an important role in the digital economy of the future.
“The purpose of this partnership is to get satellite data and the powerful insights it can provide into the hands of more regional Australians,” he said.
“We intend to collaborate with regional industry to identify and realise opportunities for innovation, productivity and sustainability.
“Charles Sturt is well placed to increase awareness of our satellite data resources and to see them embedded into best-practice decision making across Australian agricultural research and industry.”
The MoU continues the work of the AgriPark, which has been the beneficiary of some major announcements and funding in recent months.
In December 2020, the University signed a strategic partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment to bring mutual benefits and improve research capabilities.
In April 2021, it was announced that Charles Sturt was awarded an $8 million government grant, with a further investment of $11.9 million from the consortium’s partners, to establish the Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub at the AgriPark in Wagga Wagga.