UQ secures trailblazing commercial research funding

16 May 2022

The University of Queensland will lead Australia’s effort to supercharge commercialisation in the food and beverage industry, with a share of $362 million in federal government funding.

The UQ-led Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) project will receive $50 million Trailblazer funding over four years to boost growth and innovation in the sector, potentially creating thousands of new jobs.

The Director of UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Professor Matthew Morell said the project is backed by industry and innovation partners, along with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), CSIRO and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“This is about working together to create new technologies, products and businesses in the food and beverage sector which will ultimately create jobs and boost the Australian economy,” Professor Morell said.

“By 2030, this project aims to contribute to doubling the value of Australia’s food and beverage manufacturing sector through a focus on smart production and new ingredients, creating innovative foods and beverages.

“FaBA is expected to help attract $1 billion in investment into food and beverage manufacturing and create 1700 skilled positions, along with a further 15000 jobs across the sector.”

UQ, industry partners and UQ’s university collaborators will also invest a further $110 million funding in the project.

“This will be a catalyst for commercialisation and a game-changer for this sector,” Professor Morell said.

“This investment will allow innovative smaller businesses to accelerate their capacity for developing and manufacturing products that meet changing consumer needs, such as the desire for premium products.”

Food and beverage manufacturers will have access to affordable pilot facilities and state of the art equipment to test new products and FaBA will also work with CSIRO to use existing national facilities in food research.

Congratulating the bid team, UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the project will allow UQ, with the support and funding from government and industry, to build successful, enduring and innovative partnerships for the benefit of the economy.

“This is an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of research that has a critical role in creating new products, companies, technology and jobs, not just for Queensland, but the entire country,” Professor Terry said.

“I’m particularly pleased that this project will also result in direct investment in regional Queensland, with infrastructure and enterprises to be developed in Toowoomba, Mackay and Cairns.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the expertise of UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest in supporting the development of this project from an exciting idea to reality.”  

Professor Mike Gidley, the Director of the UQ Centre for Nutrition and Food Science has been appointed Interim Director of FaBA.

The project is supported by Industry partners: Kalfresh, Simplot Australia, Gelita, v2food, GrainCorp, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Nourish Ingredients, All G Foods, Eden Brew, Change Foods, Phyllome, and BioSouth. Research partners: Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the University of Southern Queensland. Commercialisation partner: UniQuest. Innovations partners: AgriFood Connect, and FKG Group.

For more information about the Federal Government’s Trailblazer Universities Program, visit here.

Contact: Shelly Lloyd UQ Media, communications@uq.edu.au, +61 (0)429 056 139 and Carolyn Martin, QAAFI Media, carolyn.martin@uq.edu.au, mobile: 0439 399 886.

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a research institute at The University of Queensland supported by the Queensland Government via the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.