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Building Australia’s Poultry Research Capability

14 February 2014

AUSTRALIA - Poultry is regarded as the animal protein of the future due to its high efficiency of production and low emissions. Australia, for example, has become one of the highest consumers of poultry meat, with annual consumption increasing from less than 5kg per person in the 1960s to 45kg per person today, writes Poultry CRC CEO, Professor Mingan Choct.

According to Professor Choct, the important driver of productivity gain is innovation, which depends on world-class researchers and first class facilities. In Australia, the existence of first-class facilities is usually the result of the sustained effort and leadership of key researchers, highlighting the fact that human capital development is the most important investment for an industry’s future.

The Poultry CRC’s objective is to lay solid foundations for the poultry industry in Australia through funding research and supporting education. Poultry CRC has 23 industry organisations, ten universities and four research institutes as participants. It has a total resource of approximately $98.5 million over 7.5 years, of which 27.4 per cent comes from the government, with the remainder from participants. Of CRC's cash budget, approximately 61 per cent goes to research, 17 per cent is used for education, 15 per cent is used in administration, and seven per cent is put towards utilisation activities.

To date, 23 of 37 participants are active contributors to CRC's research and education effort with the top providers being CSIRO, The University of Melbourne, The University of Adelaide, University of New England, The University of Sydney, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, The University of Queensland, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Monash University and The Ohio State University. The diverse range of organisations involved in RD&E in poultry is a great indicator, and a safety net, for continued innovation in the Australian poultry industry, writes Professor Choct.

The Poultry CRC has paid particular attention to education activities over the past ten years. In CRC1, 26 postgraduate students, ten postdoctoral scientists and more than 20 veterinarians and poultry health professionals were supported in completing the Avian Health Online course. Employment for postgraduates has been balanced almost evenly between industry and research/academia.

Poultry CRC's education effort is continuing in CRC2 with 38 students pursuing their postgraduate degrees, seven interns working the industry, and over 200 company employees attaining vocational education certificates. The CRC is currently investigating a new opportunity to help bridge the gap between researchers and industry.

This foundation in human capacity building will leave the future of the Australian poultry industry in good hands and represents a remarkable return on investment for every industry and government dollar spent.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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