UNE maintains its key role in CRCs

Published 18 August 2009

Mingan Choct, Chief Executive Officer (Poultry CRC) mchoct@une.eThe UNE-based Poultry Cooperative Research Centre, which is Australia’s leading researcher into sustainable poultry production, has secured an additional $28 million to conduct new research over a further 7.5 years.

UNE’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Alan Pettigrew, said the cash injection would have significant flow-on benefits for the University of New England, and was great news for the University and its academic community.

Professor Pettigrew congratulated UNE’s Professor Mingan Choct (pictured here),  the Poultry CRC’s Chief Executive Officer, and his colleagues on the successful rebid for the CRC, which is funded under the Australian Government’s CRC program.

“The Poultry CRC attracts world-class researchers and academics,” Professor Pettigrew said, and added that it already supported 35 students nationally for their Honours, Master’s and PhD degrees, and had developed undergraduate courses dedicated to poultry science.

The Poultry CRC has been performing research and driving education since 2003 aimed at improving the sustainability of the Australian poultry industries. Professor Choct said that it had delivered 20 diagnostic tests that cut diagnosis time from days to hours, and had seven vaccines under development and seven patents – some of them international breakthroughs. “These, and our educational outputs, contribute to our success,” he said.

The  CRC will address the major challenge of meeting increasing demand for ‘clean and green’ poultry products and maintaining food security in the face of climate change and population growth.

“Australians eat almost 40 kgs of chicken each every year, as well as around 175 eggs,” Professor Choct said. “Our industry must meet increasing demand for poultry products while using fewer resources and reducing environmental impacts. To ensure food security, we must massively increase productivity, without compromising food safety or welfare.”

Professor Pettigrew also congratulated UNE’s Associate Professor David Lamb who leads an important component of the CRC for Spatial Information, based at the CSIRO, which received a total of $32.2 million.

UNE will be involved in two major projects. An “Agriculture, Natural Resources and Climate Change: Biomass project” aims to empower Australia’s response to climate change by transforming the way public and private land managers balance agricultural productivity and sustainability. UNE will host this major project, using its significant strength in precision agriculture research to bring together agronomists, soil scientists, sensor specialists, physicists, ecosystem scientists, plant biologists, statisticians and computer scientists.

A “Health Research through the CRC for Spatial Information project” is predicated on the expectation that linking spatial technology with other technology and management methods can assist to deliver tangible healthcare improvement in rural areas.

“Our thanks go to Professor Ray Cooksey and the team at Research Services for their assistance in achieving these great outcomes,” Professor Pettigrew said.