Posts Tagged ‘Excellence’

Improved nutrition for billions of people around the world and the development of clean, green biofuels are two key aims of the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, a $32 million biotechnology centre based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.

See the following Adelaide Now link: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/research-to-change-plants-for-better/story-fn6bqpju-1226115599605

Also: The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls http://www.adelaide.edu.au/plant-cell-walls/

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In early February 2011 the Federal Government released the results of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise. This assessment was undertaken to assess the quality of research in all subjects area across all Australian universities. The outcome for the School Agriculture, Food & Wine (AFW) was outstanding – scoring 5, the maximum possible score for the overarching area of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences as well as 5s in the following discipline areas encompassing research undertaken within AFW:

  • Plant Biology
  • Crop and Pasture Production
  • Horticultural Production (which includes viticulture and oenology as well as other horticultural crops)
  • Soil Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (to which AFW researchers contributed)

A score of 5 defined by the ERA indicates the research quality is well above world standard.

This outcome highlights via an objective assessment of AFW research that all activities where performed at the highest international level.  Further it secures AFW’s reputation as the foremost place for agricultural research in Australian universities, which can only be strengthen in the future by the establishment in 2010 of the Waite Research Institute and in 2011 the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls at the Waite Campus.

The full list of all scores can be found at: www.arc.gov.au/era/outcomes_2010.

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A ground-breaking research centre to address fundamental research on plant cell walls that underpins issues relating to human nutrition and biofuel production was recently announced.

Under the auspices of the Australian Research Council (ARC) and collaborating research institutions, the new Centre of Excellence will undertake cutting-edge research and development work, covering a wide range of research issues relating to cell wall biology and its applications in human nutrition and renewable energy production. The Centre will also undertake an extensive education and training program that will include postgraduate student training, the provision of scholarships, and more general community engagement programs.

Professor Geoffrey Fincher

Professor Geoffrey Fincher

According to Professor Geoff Fincher, the Director Designate for the new ARC Centre of Excellence, plant cell wall biology is an important area for research because it will be focused on cereals and grasses, which play major roles in human nutrition as well as in biofuel production. “In human health and nutrition, for instance, plant cell walls make up a major component  of   dietary fibre and hence a closer scientific study on the cell walls themselves is highly likely to reveal background information that can subsequently be evaluated by our partner investigators for industrial applications such as human health, pulp and paper manufacture, malting and brewing, flour milling and bread making, and biomass production for bioethanol ,” explained Dr. Rachel Burton, who is also a Chief Investigator of the Centre and is based at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide.

Other Chief Investigators include Professor Tony Bacic (University of Melbourne) and Professor Mike Gidley (University of Queensland). The new Centre will also be closely collaborating with research institutions and industry partners in Australia, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, and the United States, all of whom will bring specialized scientific expertise and infrastructure, together with conduits for delivery of research outcomes into a wide range of potential applications. Based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus, the Centre will operate with an initial budget of $19.25 million from the ARC and approximately $12 million from collaborating and partner institutions, over seven years.

For more information about the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Wall Biology, contact Professor Fincher via telephone: 08 83037296, or email:  geoff.fincher@adelaide.edu.au.

Written by Ronan Zagado

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