A research partnership to promote value-adding for food production in regional Tasmania
The University of Tasmania launched its new Centre for Food Innovation (CFI) on Thursday, April 4 and at the same time announced a ground-breaking science collaboration with the Commonwealth Government’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
The UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, CSIRO Chief of Animal, Food and Health Sciences Professor Martin Cole and DSTO’s Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky signed a collaborative agreement that will link Tasmania to national food research networks and initiate joint research projects.
CFI is a partnership that aims to help diversify Tasmania’s economic base by growing exports of high-quality, nutritious, value-added food products. The CFI, headed by its newly-appointed foundation director, Prof Roger Stanley, will bring together the expertise of nutritionists and food technologists from all three partners to undertake research of direct relevance to Tasmania and Defence needs.
Research projects driven by industry needs will include:
- Increasing export market access for fresh produce by extending shelf life using innovative processing and packaging technologies
- Developing key technologies to make and test specialised foods that could find dual use in Defence and civilian markets such as sports performance nutrition, aged care feeding and shelf-stable foods for emergency response
- Characterising and communicating the benefits of regional foods and local heritage cultivars to promote appreciation of our unique environment and products to differentiate and brand Tasmanian foods.
Based in Launceston, CFI will work with many established UTAS institutions and initiatives such as the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), Australian Maritime College logistics, the School of Human Life Sciences and the Sensing Tasmania (Sense-T).
The CFI is already consulting industry to establish regional networks and facilities associated with industry where local producers can work collaboratively and with researchers to test their ideas.
In a positive move for north-east Tasmania, the CFI will enable the DSTO facility in Scottsdale to grow its research capabilities in food science and technology, provide access to a broader pool of experts and foster an enhanced science environment to extend the research base for new and innovative food for Defence.