UWA’s Institute of Agriculture celebrates ‘most productive year’ since 2007

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Adam PoulsenThe West Australian
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Wheat.
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Researchers at UWA’s Institute of Agriculture have had their most productive year since 2007 in what has been hailed a “difficult yet extraordinary” 12 months.

According to the institute’s 2020 Annual Research Report, released last week, its research team published more than 330 peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book chapters last year.

UWA’s Institute of Agriculture Hackett director professor Kadambot Siddique said the report highlighted “countless research achievements” spanning a wide range of topics and disciplines.

“Our researchers and collaborators discovered the true cause of faba bean gall disease, coordinated a national project to improve heat tolerance in canola, redefined our understanding of clover disease and applied cutting-edge spatial technology to a variety of projects,” he said.

“We also responded to the immediate effects of pandemic by contributing to a scientific paper that found Australia New Zealand agri-food industries were highly resilient during COVID-19.”

Collaborative and multi-disciplinary research was carried out across six themes during 2020: crops, roots and rhizosphere; sustainable grazing systems; water for food production; food quality and human health; engineering Innovations for food production; and agribusiness ecosystems.

The 14th annual report provides an overview of UWA’s agricultural research, development, and training in regional, national and international contexts.

Professor Siddique said its launch was a chance to reflect on a “difficult, yet ultimately extraordinary, 12 months”.

“In a year marked by the significant challenges of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, the institute’s researchers and collaborators should be congratulated for their resilience and dedication,” he said.

“Never has our vision to provide research-based solutions to food and national security, environmental sustainability and agribusiness been more pertinent.

“A major highlight from 2020 was our Industry Forum, which explored the very timely topic of ‘Climate change and agriculture: Challenges and solutions for Australian farmers’.”

As well as communicating agricultural research and training activities at UWA, the institute actively engages with industry, farmer groups, collaborators, funding bodies and alumni.

UWA’s Agricultural Science degree was recently ranked number one in Australia and 16th in the world in the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities.

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