The Morrison Government is investing in the development of an Australian biomanufacturing sector that will use biological systems to produce commercial products, creating jobs and business opportunities.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced the Morrison Government was providing $35 million to establish a research centre that combines engineering with molecular biology to design and construct biological systems with commercial applications.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology will be led by Professor Ian Paulsen and based at Macquarie University.
"This research centre will create systems that will convert biomass from agriculture and waste streams into biofuel, biodegradable pesticides, bioplastics and other high value biochemicals," Mr Tehan said.
"These products will have commercial applications, leading to job creation and business opportunities as well as new income streams for Australian farmers.
"Our Government is investing in the emergence of an environmentally sustainable advanced biomanufacturing industry in Australia because it’s good for jobs, good for the economy and good for the environment.
"This world-leading research centre will also be an incubator for the next generation of synthetic biologists."
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said this research centre has great potential for job creation.
"Synthetic biology is an exciting field and its discoveries can translate into industrial products and processes of global significance," Ms Andrews said.
"Funding research centres like this one is a proven way to take science from the lab and apply it in industry to create new opportunities."
Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University Professor S. Bruce Dowton welcomed the Government’s announcement.
"Synthetic biology will give us ways to better manage both agriculture and our environment," Professor Dowton said.
"This newly announced Centre of Excellence, a collaboration between Macquarie University and other Australian and overseas universities as well as industry partners, will have a critical impact on Australia’s future."
Member for Bennelong John Alexander said the centre would build on the area’s reputation as a hub for invention and innovation.
"From the Granny Smith apple to WiFi, Bennelong and Macquarie Park have long been the centre of Australian innovation," Mr Alexander said.
"Macquarie University is the perfect home for this ARC Centre of Excellence, and I can’t wait to see the innovative and world changing solutions they produce."
Researchers from Macquarie University will collaborate with experts at six Australian universities and 25 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and America. Together they will provide an additional $61.1 million in cash and in-kind support to the centre.
More information about the ARC Centres of Excellence program is on the ARC website.