Monash University has secured an ‘historic agreement’ with the Nutrition and Health Research Institute (NHRI) of the Chinese state-owned COFCO Corporation.
It is the first agreement signed by COFCO’s NHRI and an Australian organisation. The deal will see Monash University’s new multi-million dollar Food Innovation Centre enter into a strategic partnership with COFCO NHRI, as part of its overall food and agricultural innovation strategy.
Under the agreement, which is aimed at boosting exports to China, the Food Innovation Centre at Monash will have access to COFCO NHRI’s technical resources, in-depth knowledge of Chinese consumers, regulatory expertise and market delivery platforms to fast track supply opportunities for Australian exporters.
The Food Innovation Centre at Monash was today formally opened by the Victorian Government Minister for Industry and Employment, The Hon. Wade Noonan MP.
President and Vice Chancellor of Monash University, Professor Margaret Gardner AO thanked the Victorian Government for its contribution and said the centre’s development and the COFCO NHRI agreement reflected Monash’s commitment to helping Australia achieve its food export ambitions.
“The Monash Food Innovation Centre opens at a crucial time for Australia’s efforts to boost agricultural and food productivity to meet the demands of Asia’s fast growing middle class population,” Professor Gardner said.
“Monash now looks forward to using our world-class capabilities to provide Australian food producers – growers and manufacturers – with a competitive edge.
“Our University will be establishing an elite food industry focused PhD program and investing in large scale infrastructure across campus, including a multi-million-dollar space for food product development, innovation incubation support for SMEs, and industry-university collaboration within Monash’s state-of-the-art $80m Green Chemical Futures building,” Professor Gardner said.
A key challenge for the Monash centre, Professor Gardner said, would be to support an export culture in Australian SMEs. Crucial to that was the centre’s capacity to provide start-ups and SMEs with a ‘one stop shop’ range of support services to guide them on how to develop export pathways into Asia.