Planning starts for global agricultural science hub in Sydney

18 December 2018
Combining the University's world-class veterinary, agriculture and life sciences expertise with the Department of Primary Industry at the historic Elizabeth Macarthur Agriculture Institute will amplify and support research in plant biology, soil science, food research and animal husbandry.
The University of Sydney is a global leader in plant biology research. Photo by Jayne Ion

The University of Sydney is a global leader in plant biology research. Photo by Jayne Ion

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the University of Sydney are building a new alliance to create a global hub for veterinary science, agriculture and soil research, agribusiness and training at the historic Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute in south-west Sydney.

A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations will be signed to guide discussions around options to relocate the University of Sydney’s current facilities at Cobbitty onto land at DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, near Menangle.

DPI’s Director General, Scott Hansen said talks will begin early next year about the prospective alliance that would supercharge the state’s ability to manage agricultural pests and diseases, train students and deepen our world-class understanding of veterinary and agricultural science.

“The two organisations have an opportunity to cement a research and teaching partnership that would bring together some of the world’s best researchers in plant and animal science,” Mr Hansen said.

“DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute is a world-renowned plant and animal biosecurity facility, serviced by internationally recognised scientists,” Mr Hansen said.

“The University of Sydney’s educational excellence combined with research from the School of Veterinary Science, its animal breeding program and its cereal rust laboratory, are globally renowned.

“An alliance that leverages the combined strengths of these two world-leading organisations has the potential to deliver outcomes with impacts felt not just here in NSW but right around the world.”

The Dean of Science at the University of Sydney, Professor Iain Young said the partnership would lead to new and sustainable capabilities in animal, soil and plant science, supporting innovative academic activity, enhanced public service delivery and deeper industry links.

“Our agricultural and veterinary scientists are already among the best in the world. Working together with DPI at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute can only help improve and amplify the world-class research we are doing at Camden,” Professor Young said.

“We expect this alliance will allow us to take our science to even higher levels, combining our strengths in agricultural science with the University’s engineering, artificial intelligence and robotics expertise to develop globally significant research to support agribusiness, human health and welfare.”

The relocation would provide enhanced laboratory facilities, improve infrastructure, expand education facilities, provide improved access to public transport and increase availability of experienced staff required to respond to any emergency disease events.

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