The Future is Agriculture and Environment @ Sydney

3 April 2012

Agriculture at the University of Sydney has a new name - the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, reflecting the restructured research and courses offered by the previously named Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

"I am pleased to announce our new name - the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment. The message we are sending out loud and clear is that agriculture and land management in general are as much about protecting the environment as they are about production," said Professor Mark Adams, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

"Our new name reflects our focus and strength in agricultural and environmental research. A simpler, more accurate name is crucial for potential students who do most of their investigating via the internet - it means they can quickly ascertain what we do," said Professor Adams.

"Reflecting both our activity and our structure, our new faculty name meshes well with our degree programs," explained Professor Adams.

"Our research and teaching exists in an international environment and our new name is well-placed to harness that.We wanted to make a change, particularly to highlight our diverse degree programs and to be more attractive and relevant to potential students."

The market research was supported by additional faculty-led discussions with alumni and industry generally, all showing that a fresh approach would benefit the faculty.

"Current and future students will see our reputation for student support and friendliness continue, while we renew our faculty image and re-energise our research."

The University Senate approved the new faculty name on 19 March 2012, after a consultant report by Pollinate market research and an exhaustive faculty-wide discussion determined a number of changes were required to reflect the research strengths and new research focuses of the Faculty.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment also has three new departments: Agricultural and Resource Economics; Environmental Sciences; and Plant and Food Sciences.

Three Heads have been appointed for the three new departments within the Faculty: Professor Alan Randall is Head of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Professor Alex McBratney is Head of Environmental Sciences; and Associate Professor Robyn McConchie is Head of Plant and Food Sciences.

In addition to the three new departments, the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment will continue to run the Plant Breeding Institute led by Professor Peter Sharp.

The Faculty has also established a major new research centre: the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food. The new Centre will be based at the Camden campus in a purpose-designed building currently being constructed, with the Centre due to open later this year.

"The new Centre for Carbon, Water and Food will make the most of our leadership in several areas of plant, soil and systems research, and take it to the next level. The challenges of carbon, water and food are arguably the biggest ones we face - not only as a country, but as a planet," said Professor Adams.

Using part of the extraordinary bequest of over $8 million received in 2011 from the estate of Nancy Roma Paech, the Faculty is currently looking to recruit for a new professorship - the Nancy Roma Paech Professor in Range Science.

"Our new Nancy Roma Paech Professor will lead a major push into sustainable plant and animal production in the vast inland areas of Australia."

The Nancy Roma Paech bequest will also fund new PhD and Masters scholarships and Visiting Professorships in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

New facilities at the IA Watson Grain Research Centre in Narrabri, part of the Faculty's Plant Breeding Institute, will completely rejuvenate grains research and help dramatically increase the Faculty's support of the grains industry in the north of NSW.

"The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment is poised to reap the benefits of our reinvigorated research focus, by strengthening areas where we are established leaders and expanding into new areas that complement our research strengths," said Professor Adams.

"The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment is looking outwards and focusing on its service to the Australian and global communities at a time when the biggest challenges facing our world require integration of science and economics to advance our management and stewardship of the land."

Contact: Ms Robyn Turner

Phone: 02 8627 1003

Email: 205e0c3f1449073334561006371e2c30090329163c3506014a21