The Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) was established in 1973 to ensure a continuing University commitment to crop breeding and research. The grains and horticultural industries require a continuum of new cultivars that maximize profitability and sustainability in a dynamic production and market environment. This requires a continuous flow of new genetic materials, knowledge, technologies and trained people; the core business of the PBI.
PBI sits under the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and while research largely focuses on the genetic improvement of cereal, legume and horticultural crops, there are cross-cutting themes on food quality, farming systems and digital agriculture in recognition of the changing nature of Australian agriculture. PBI research also forms part of the Plant Breeding and Production theme of the Sydney Institute of Agriculture.
The PBI aims to (i) develop the new genetic materials required by industry and the technologies that allow these materials and genes to be easily adopted, (ii) generate knowledge that furthers our understanding of plant biology and farming systems, and (iii) train the next generation of plant breeders/geneticists and scientists in related disciplines.
The PBI comprises established and complementary research facilities at Cobbitty and Narrabri.
The Cobbitty facility is part of the Camden campus located in southwestern Sydney and features laboratory, greenhouse and field facilities. The greenhouses incorporate the latest technology in design and environment control. There are laboratories for molecular genetics, cytogenetics and tissue culture as well as long-term seed storage rooms. Read more about our Camden campus.
Our Narrabri campus, located 600km from Sydney on the northwestern plains of NSW, has fertile, irrigable land which is available for plant breeding research, including the conduct of yield and quality testing and pure seed production. The station is strategically positioned in the northern NSW cropping area and comprises 430 ha of land of which 300 ha are irrigable. This is complemented by laboratories, storage and workspace for the conduct of the routine operations of breeding programs. The station is owned by the farmers of NSW and governed by a board of trustees; the Wheat Research Foundation. The property has been leased to the University since 1960 to conduct grains research. Read more about the Narrabri campus and farm and the Wheat Research Foundation.
Plant Breeding Institute offers postgraduate research and training opportunities across all of our research areas. Find out more about undertaking a SOLES postgraduate research degree.
Projects are available in the following areas: