AUSTRALIA – Key for Australia’s Innovation: Collaboration – June 03, 2011

AUSTRALIA – Collaboration the key for Australia’s innovation in poultry, according to Poultry CRC CEO, Professor Mingan Choct.

In this Edition of eChook, Poultry CRC CEO, Professor Mingan Choct talks about the wider issue of nurturing collaborative research in general. In fact, this was the key theme of the 2011 Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA) Conference, held between 17 and 19 May in Brisbane.

It highlighted the importance of the CRC Program in driving Australia’s collaborative research agenda over the past 20 years. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Professor Alan Robson delivered the Ralph Slatyer Lecture, and spoke of Slatyer’s pivotal role in the establishment of CRCs.

Professor Robson said: “In my view, the establishment of Co-operative Research Centres was a masterstroke way ahead of its time. The CRC program has played a pioneering role in bringing together public and private sector researchers and research end-users to focus on solving real challenges of importance to Australia.”

The Hon. John Kerin (Chair, Poultry CRC), Ms Bernie Hobbs (ABC Science Broadcaster), Dr Vivien Kite (RIRDC Chicken Meat Program, Deputy CEO, Poultry CRC) and Professor Mingan Choct (CEO, Poultry CRC)

A central theme at this year’s CRCA Conference was the importance of developing robust global collaboration networks into the future.

Professor Robson continued: “Australia – representing only two per cent of the world’s knowledge-generating capacity – needs to recognise the importance of international collaboration in terms of growing innovation capacity, enhancing participation in global knowledge networks, and increasing the impact of Australian research in the international arena.

“A strong research capacity enables us to participate on the international stage in fields of global and national importance. And our ability to attract the highest calibre international minds will allow us to engage with and contribute to international research at a highly competitive level.”

This idea was reinforced by Dr Geoff Garrett, Queensland’s Chief Scientist, who directed advice to our young and upcoming researchers.

He said: “Connect with the best people in the world; Ask, who is the best in your field? When did you last speak with them?”

Dr Garrett went on to encourage researchers to develop into ‘Collaboranauts’, skilled at building partnerships and networks.

Overall the ‘meeting of the minds’ at this year’s conference was a great opportunity to exchange experiences, ideas and, as suggested, serves to further develop collaboration among CRCs.

Professor Robson concluded: “We have a vibrant science and innovation environment. But it needs continuing support. As Ralph Slatyer saw so clearly, investment in, and encouragement of, innovation will help ensure that we advance both economically and socially; remain linked to the wider world of global knowledge; and provide a range of exciting opportunities for our young people.”

Indeed, collaboration is the key word for the Poultry CRC, which has more than 95 per cent of the Poultry Industry on board, and will help tackle the important challenge of addressing Australia’s future food security. Chicken is Australia’s No. 1 meat, nearing 40kg per capita. To meet the demand in the future in the face of population growth and climate change will require a close interface between industry and research providers in order to produce innovative solutions for the challenge.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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