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Our Centre for Agricultural Systems, launched in 2017, is helping to make sense of complex interactions within agricultural and food systems, a topic that is increasingly important for prosperous management of our natural resources into the future.

At TIA, we recognise that significant global challenges faced by agriculture and food sectors (such as water scarcity, soil depletion and increasing energy consumption) cannot be solved in isolation. It will require a systems approach that takes into account the various interconnections including environmental, social, cultural and economic factors.

Tasmania is an ideal location to conduct this type of research. As an island with an abundance of natural resources (fresh water, fertile soils, energy) all within a largely contained system, Tasmania is uniquely positioned for innovative, whole-of-systems research.

This is the perfect environment to explore an emerging capacity to deploy natural resources strategically and sustainably – and the development of sensitive models that can be applied to other parts of the world.

Our researchers also contribute to international research for development. They are finding local solutions to global problems including food and nutrition security, value chain development and poverty reduction.

Research themes include:

  • Sustainable water management

TIA’s research program into water and irrigation management provides the infrastructure knowledge needed to unlock the full economic, social and environmental potential of investment in irrigation infrastructure. The Program is managed by TIA and delivered in collaboration with a range of RD&E providers through well-established partnerships.

  • Soils systems

Our soil systems research includes soil sensor and technology, subsoil constraints and drainage, reducing soil degradation and loss, and soil rejuvenation. Through this research, we are helping farmers to optimise their returns while minimising their impacts on our natural resources.

  • Climate change and variability

We are helping farmers understand the impacts of climate change and variability on agricultural production. Our research aims to help farmers and land managers respond to immediate and short to medium-term climate variability, as well as preparing for longer changes in climate.

  • Agricultural technology and innovation

We believe that focusing on innovation, development and adoption of new technologies, and becoming ‘smarter’ in our practices will be essential to both remaining competitive on a global scale and driving productivity gains throughout the agriculture and food sectors.

  • Value chains and socio-technical change

Our social science researchers have a focus on value chains, business/entrepreneurial ecosystems, regional development, and place-based agriculture. TIA’s flagship project in this area is ‘Aspirations for Food and Agriculture’ which is engaging in people working in Tasmania’s food and agriculture sectors to determine how we can create value, support sustainable growth and ensure a prosperous future.