Australian researchers will be global leaders in decoding the structure and functions of cell components with applications in science, agriculture, biotechnology, animal health and pharmaceuticals.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced the Morrison Government would provide $35 million to establish a research centre investigating peptides and proteins.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science will be based at The University of Queensland and led by Professor David Craik.
"Results from this field of research will have numerous applications, including the development of ecofriendly bio-pesticides for sustainable and profitable food production, as well as cost-effective new therapeutics," Mr Tehan said.
"Leading researchers from diverse disciplines will work together to create a national entity that develops novel production technologies and drives new Australian industries and creates jobs.
"The centre will also train the next generation of scientists, creating new high-value jobs by improving health outcomes and addressing pressing agricultural challenges."
Professor Craik said the centre aimed to unleash the potential of peptides and proteins, including those found in Australia’s unique flora and fauna, for the benefit of both the local and global communities.
"Peptides and proteins are a staggeringly diverse array of molecules – they are the building blocks of life that carry out almost all biological functions, and contain huge amounts of complex information which is compressed into the cells of living organisms," Professor Craik said.
"Unpacking this information, understanding its meaning and harnessing it for human benefit is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Applications are as diverse as growing medicinal drugs in plant biofactories or developing novel antibiotics by analysing the milk of the Tasmanian devil."
Member for Ryan Julian Simmonds said the investment in the centre was vital for new crop protection insights for the local food production industry.
"The research will achieve insights into how we can achieve a profitable food industry well into the future, not just locally but also nationally," Mr Simmonds said.
"I’m working to support local businesses and this funding is a significant investment towards improved understanding for a sustainable future."
Researchers from The University of Queensland will collaborate nationally and internationally with five Australian universities, and 20 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, Asia and America.
More information about the ARC Centres of Excellence program is on the ARC website.