The Australian government has committed $50 million (US$34.9 million) in research funding through three Queensland universities to enhance the nation’s food and beverage manufacturing potential as part of its Trailblazer program.
The University of Queensland (UQ) will partner with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), along with industry and innovation partners, to boost growth and innovation in the food and beverage sector.
Along with the government funding, the three universities and industry partners will invest an additional $110 million in the project.
The Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) is one of six Trailblazer initiatives, including defence, clean energy and recycling, resources technology and critical minerals, space, and medical products Trailblazers, designed to harness the research power of Australia’s universities to expand the nation’s manufacturing priorities.
Director of UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Professor Matthew Morell, said in a release on Monday that the project is about collaborating to create new technologies, products, and businesses in the food and beverage sector, which will create jobs and boost Australia’s economy.
“By 2030, this project aims to contribute to doubling the value of Australia’s food and beverage manufacturing sector through a focus on smart production and new ingredients, creating innovative foods and beverages,” he said.
“FaBA is expected to help attract $1 billion in investment into food and beverage manufacturing and create 1,700 skilled positions, along with a further 15,000 jobs across the sector.”
Food and beverage manufacturers will be given access to affordable pilot facilities and cutting-edge equipment to test new products, while FaBA will also collaborate with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to access existing facilities for food research.
“This will be a catalyst for commercialisation and a game-changer for this sector,” Morell said.
“This investment will allow innovative smaller businesses to accelerate their capacity for developing and manufacturing products that meet changing consumer needs, such as the desire for premium products.”
Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, said the Trailblazers program had brought universities and businesses together, with $362 million in taxpayer funding attracting more than $1 billion in co-investments from university and industry partners.
“Our economic plan is supercharging Australia’s research and development, creating more jobs, and helping to build a stronger economy and a stronger future, he said.