News

Investing in plant research for Australia's future



16 March 2009

The Australian Research Council (ARC) have given a ringing endorsement to the future of fundamental plant research by awarding a $9.8 million renewal of funding to the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.

The future of plant biology is in safe hands with a renewal of funding for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
The future of plant biology is in safe hands with a renewal of funding for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, with nodes at the University of Sydney, University of Western Australia and Australian National University, will receive $2.8 million each calendar year to total $9.8 million over a three and a half year period.

This funding resulted from a competitive review process conducted by the ARC beginning in July 2008 amongst eleven ARC Centres of Excellence around the country. The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology is one of only three reviewed centres awarded an extension of such magnitude.

Director of the Centre, Professor Ian Small, based at the University of Western Australia, is delighted with the announcement, which secures the Centre's cutting edge research efforts through to 2013. He congratulated the Centre's staff and students on the high standard of research and community outreach since opening in 2006.

"To see the Centre go through this competitive review process and be one of only three centres nationwide awarded such a substantial funding endorsement from the ARC is wonderful and a true testament to our team efforts to date," said Professor Small.

"It allows us to build on our advances so far and continue to make conceptual advances in plant energy research into the future.

"We aim to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms which underlie a plants ability to control, capture, and use its energy under a range of environmental conditions. This will have a significant impact on the future use of plants as food sources, biofuels or as factories for pharmaceuticals," Professor Small said.

At the University of Sydney, Professor David Day is the Chief Investigator within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (and also the Dean of the Faculty of Science).

"The Centre renewal is excellent news for the whole research team across the three locations in Australia. Our plant energy biology research is fundamental research which is uncovering the molecular mechanisms of energy use in plants," said Professor Day.

"This area of research is incredibly important for Australia, as it keeps us at the cutting edge of plant science and the findings of our research have implications for a broad range of plant based industries."

With research nodes in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Plant Energy Biology has gained respect and visibility across Australia, whilst forging many key relationships in its research activities both nationally and internationally. It has also been recognised for its contribution to educating the next generation of plant scientists with its professional training, school education and community outreach initiatives.

Learn more about the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at: www.plantenergy.uwa.edu.au


Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 440c2e152439061f31191807383b2a1b170553103b010a0d