The University of Queensland will lead Australia’s efforts to boost commercialization in the food and drink industry, with a $362 million share of federal government funding.
The UQ-led Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) project will receive $50 million in Trailblazer funding over four years to drive growth and innovation in the sector, potentially creating thousands of new jobs.
Director of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at UQ, Professor Matthew Morell said the project is supported by industry and innovation partners, as well as Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Southern Queensland (USQ), CSIRO and the Department of Queensland Agriculture and Fisheries.
“It’s about working together to create new food and drink technologies, products and businesses that will ultimately create jobs and boost the Australian economy,” Prof Morell said.
“By 2030, this project aims to help double the value of Australia’s food and drink manufacturing sector with a focus on smart production and new ingredients, creating innovative food and drink.
“FaBA is expected to help attract $1 billion in investment in food and beverage manufacturing and create 1,700 skilled positions, as well as another 15,000 jobs in the sector.”
UQ, industry partners and UQ academic collaborators will also invest an additional $110 million in funding for the project.
“It will be a catalyst for commercialization and a game-changer for this sector,” Professor Morell said.
“This investment will enable small, innovative companies to accelerate their ability to develop and manufacture products that meet changing consumer needs, such as the desire for premium products.
Food and beverage manufacturers will have access to affordable pilot facilities and state-of-the-art equipment to test new products and FaBA will also work with CSIRO to utilize existing national facilities in food research.
Congratulating the bid team, UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the project will enable UQ, with support and funding from government and industry, to build successful, sustainable and innovative partnerships to benefit the economy.
“This is an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of research that plays a vital role in creating new products, businesses, technologies and jobs, not just for Queensland, but for the country as a whole,” said said Professor Terry.
“I am particularly pleased that this project will also result in direct investment in the Queensland region, with infrastructure and businesses to be developed in Toowoomba, Mackay and Cairns.
“I would also like to highlight the expertise of the UQ marketing company UniQuest by supporting the development of this project from an exciting idea to reality.
Professor Mike Gidleythe director of the UQ Nutrition and Food Science Center was appointed interim director of FaBA.
The project is supported by industry partners: Kalfresh, Simplot Australia, Gelita, v2food, GrainCorp, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Nourish Ingredients, All G Foods, Eden Brew, Change Foods, Phyllome and BioSouth. Research partners: Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and University of Southern Queensland. Marketing Partner: UniQuest. Innovation partners: AgriFood Connect and FKG Group.
For more information on the Federal Government’s Pioneer Universities Program, visit here.
Media: UQ Communications, [email protected], +61 (0)429 056 139.