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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The Grains Research and Development Corp. (GRDC) has awarded a grant for more than A$1.1 million to the University of Adelaide to establish new research facilities at the Waite research campus. The grant will be used to build two new controlled environment growth rooms.

The GRDC said the grant is part of a larger A$15 million fund that has been established to invest in a strategy to build national research capacity in South Australia.

John Woods chairman of GRDC
John Woods, chairman of the GRDC.

“The purpose of the grant program is to boost capacity and capability in Australian grain research and development through funding key infrastructure, and to create enduring profitability for grain growers,” said John Woods, chairman of the GRDC.

Woods said the new facilities are expected to enhance grains research at the Waite and will reduce the limitations associated with sharing of current facilities by the University, CSIRO and the SA Research and Development Institute.

In addition to the two new controlled environment growth rooms, the grant will enable the University of Adelaide to install LED lighting in glasshouses and the two growth rooms, and set up a heat and drought phenotyping system, a birdproof enclosure and a polytunnel.

The investments are expected to improve trait selection and increase trait delivery to breeders, facilitate simultaneous drought and heat experiments, expand bulking and selection capacity, reduce research costs and improve energy use efficiency, the GRDC said.

“The University of Adelaide is a long-standing research partner of the GRDC and outputs from the University’s GRDC research investments continue to deliver new knowledge and innovations to drive crop varietal improvements, practice change and ultimately grower profitability,” Woods said.

Mike Brooks, interim vice-chancellor professor at the University of Adelaide, said the university was excited to partner with the GRDC to enhance grains research facilities at the Waite campus.

“This investment is part of our strategy to engage in innovative research that enables plant breeders to develop improved varieties for Australian grain growers,” Brooks said.

The GRDC recently conducted an open, competitive process seeking applications for grants between A$20,000 and A$3 million for the construction of new, or enhancement of existing, infrastructure primarily used for R&D in the grains industry in Australia.