Australia and U.S. unite to meet global horticulture challenges

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Australia and U.S. unite to meet global horticulture challenges

Grower-owned Australian R&D corporation Hort Innovation has signed an historic co-operative research deal with the University of California Davis, with priorities likely to include smart farming, pollination, food science and a PHD exchange student program.

In a release, Hort Innovation highlighted the two-year research and information sharing agreement signed on April 25 would help boost Australia's AUD$9.3 billion (US$7 billion) horticulture industry.

Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd said the university's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences had an international research reputation and a wealth of transferable knowledge applying to key issues in Australian agriculture. 

"With a research investment spend of more than AUD$780 million (US$589 million) per year, a faculty that is stacked with academic award-winners, and a wealth of other accolades for research excellence, UC Davis is the ideal institution with which to partner," Lloyd said.

"In return, UC Davis will get the opportunity to work with leading Australian research providers through Hort Innovation to build on its knowledge and share resources to tackle some of the biggest issues our countries face in modern agriculture.

To say the team at Hort Innovation were excited about the research Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be an "understatement", according to Lloyd. 

"The U.S. is the world's largest producer of almonds and blueberries, and second largest producer of apples, strawberries, cherries, and pistachios, and its academic commitment to advancing horticulture industries is second to none," he said.

"This agreement will allow us to combine some of North America's leading research minds with those of some of Australia's top researchers to provide benefits to Australian horticulture for years to come."

UC Davis vice provost and associate chancellor of global affairs Joanna Regulska said collaboration provided a unique opportunity for research and innovation.

"It is only through these strong cross-border and interdisciplinary collaborations that global challenges can be solved," she said.

Hort Innovation, industry representatives, the Australian Government and UC Davis are scoping the research strategy with details expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Lloyd said Hort Innovation would be calling for Expressions of Interest from potential research partners and co-investors in the coming months.


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