New Centre of Excellence in Agriculture Education a major boost for agriculture and STEM education in NSW
(L-R) Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Acting); Robyn Preston MP, Member for Hawkesbury; The Hon. Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education - at the official announcement of the Centre of Excellence in Agriculture Education.
Western Sydney University has welcomed the NSW Government’s plans to establish a new Centre of Excellence in Agriculture Education at the University’s Hawkesbury campus, saying it is a significant investment that will ensure a skilled workforce to underpin a profitable and sustainable agriculture sector in NSW.
The first of its kind, the new Centre will be embedded within the Hawkesbury campus’ ‘AgriPark’ agricultural precinct. It will broaden educational pathways for school students, support teacher education in the areas of agriculture and STEM, and provide school students with the opportunity to access the University's state-of-the-art agricultural, STEM and environmental teaching and research facilities on campus.
The Centre will be an important addition to the campus, which has a long and proud history in agricultural education dating back to 1891 and the days of the Hawkesbury Agricultural College.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, said the new Centre will foster greater education and industry collaboration, helping to drive the significant technological innovation, workforce pipeline, and research and development required to grow agriculture in Australia to a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“It is a vitally important commitment by the NSW Government,” said Professor Glover. “It is particularly timely given the opportunities presented by the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport and agri-tech initiatives across the Western Parkland City. Western Sydney University’s commitment to expanding its world leading science facilities at Hawkesbury, including a six-hectare commercial greenhouse, is driving greater collaboration between TAFE, schools, researchers, and industry.”
An artist's impression of the new Centre of Excellence in Agriculture Education.
Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury campus AgriPark brings together the University’s key agricultural, agri-business, STEM and innovation-themed academic and professional technical expertise. It is home to:
- The University’s world-renowned Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment.
- The $7 million National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre – a joint initiative between Hort Innovation and the University, which is helping our nation’s fresh vegetable growers tap into the very best research and latest practices in protected cropping, including an intensive industry master-class program.
- A significant research program in the $185 million Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) – of which the University is a key partner – contributing its world-leading expertise and facilities to help accelerate innovation in the agriculture sector and increase value-adding capability to sustainable fresh food production.
The University is also continuing to invest heavily in science and agriculture facilities at Hawkesbury, including:
- Plans for a major $27 million multi-purpose science building for the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment and School of Science to be opened in 2021. It will feature new shared laboratories for plant, microscopy, microbiology, molecular and biochemical and chemistry research and teaching, office accommodation for staff and higher degree research students, as well as space for the University’s Research Engagement, Development and Innovation (REDI) team, to help strengthen research and industry collaboration and innovation.
- A multi-million-dollar, six-hectare commercial greenhouse, which will enable the University’s expertise in protected cropping to be harnessed through vastly upscaled research and production.
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