Dr John Manners
Director, CSIRO Agriculture and Food

The future looks generally bright for food and agribusiness both globally and in Australia. We are all well aware of the growing population and associated demand for food as well as the increasing wealth in our region creating growing export markets for safe, healthy and sustainably produced food.

Challenges that demand R&D responses also exist including, climate change impacts on productivity, emerging yield plateaus in crops, competing options for land use, and the need for nutritional in addition to food security, all of which require broad cross-commodity technology developments. Generally the new suites of tools available to the R&D community, especially those that harness new digital technologies and data science, engender optimism that these challenges will be met.

Public sector investment in agricultural R&D is declining in real terms but generally private sector investment is rising, which should boost industry outcomes. This buoyant market and technological outlook is attracting many new investors into the sector and generally there is no shortage of investment dollars for good ideas that are able to create value in agri-food markets in reasonable time frames.

In this presentation, I will use examples of science advances from CSIRO Agriculture and Food to chart our response to the opportunities and challenges above. I will also outline diverse pathways that are being developed to take agricultural research outputs to market and capture some of the value created back as investment into the ongoing research effort.

Dr John Manners

John Manners has a PhD from Imperial College, London, was a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Queensland from 1980-1985 when he joined CSIRO in Brisbane and established a research program in plant molecular biology and plant biotechnology. He moved to Canberra in 2013 to take up the role as Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry and then became Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food. This relatively new business unit integrates all of CSIRO's research in this area nationally and internationally and has >1000 staff and operates at 28 locations. In 2017, he became a member of CSIRO's Executive Team and plays a key role in the delivery of CSIRO's 2020 Innovation Catalyst Strategy.

About Science Seminars

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation hosts science seminars across the disciplines of animal, horticulture, crop, food and nutritional sciences.

With a range of speakers from Australia and abroad, the series explores how high-impact science will significantly improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the tropical and sub-tropical food, fibre and agribusiness sectors.

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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.


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