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New precinct supported by NCI


Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, has announced the partnership of ANU, CSIRO and NCI in the new Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Precinct.

The Precinct will bring together the brightest minds from CSIRO and ANU with support from NCI to foster research and innovation essential to food security and environmental challenges.

CSIRO researcher Dr Jen Taylor says the partnership will enable collaboration between the three organisations on large projects such as sequencing the genome of one of the globe’s most important crops, wheat.

“I’m interested in how we deal with data around making crops more productive and ecosystems more sustainable,” says Dr Taylor.

“We use data to understand how those plant systems work and that translates into informing agricultural producers how best to utilise the systems that they have on hand and how to adopt new solutions to help the nation and the globe respond to food security issues.”

The Science and Industry Endowment Fund will provide $18 million to support the program, which includes access to supercomputing and data facilities at NCI.

“We can now measure things at a completely different resolution and volume than we could before. Globally in agricultural science there has been the problem of dealing with this deluge of data,” says Dr Taylor.

“The Precinct will allow me to work very closely with people at ANU who have similar problems, and look to develop shared solutions on the foundation of the fantastic NCI facility with its strong computing abilities.”

NCI’s virtual environment will allow Dr Taylor and her team to work closely with collaborators from across the country and the globe.

“What’s been challenging about working with other scientists is that we often live in different computational systems, we use different analytical tools, and it’s been quite challenging to find ways to work together and share data.

“In getting this system up, what we are going to incorporate into it is essentially a series of virtual ‘rooms’ or ‘laboratories’ where we can come together much more easily and share our problems more efficiently than we have been able to before.

“The nice bit about that is because it’s a virtual room we can include scientists from around the world and around the nation. So for us, having this facility will make collaborative research work much more efficient.”

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