AUSTRALIA’S media regulator has backed a national hub of agricultural research knowledge with a $230,000 grant.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has made the grant to the regionally-based Research for Agriculture to source, curate, share and track world-leading Australian agricultural and environmental research through print and digital media.
Research for Agriculture already has a national and international footprint, with 15,000 initial subscribers, a website www.researchforagriculture.com.au, a free weekly e-newsletter, a free quarterly digital publication, social media and plans for an annual printed magazine of the year’s-best research.
Research for Agriculture is based at Lismore in northern NSW, with linkages across Australia through its partner Agriculture Media, a publishing company with more than 20 years’ experience in the sector. It is the brainchild of co-founder and entrepreneur John Hancock, former Director of Outreach at the Australian Centre for Agricultural Research. The ACMA grant was made through the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.
The RA team is led by the recently-appointed chief executive officer Sue Webster, a highly experienced networker and recognised agribusiness leader who has a passion for R&D.
“Australia has a long and distinguished heritage of agricultural research.
“Australians invented the world’s first mechanised grain stripper, air seeder, Dethridge irrigation wheel and many shearing technologies,” Ms Webster said.
“Few people know that an Australian – Bill Mollison – established the global practice of permaculture.”
“And the impetus continues into the modern world; advances in IVF have been assisted by Australian livestock research, CSIRO scientists invented the Hendra vaccine and South Australian research saved the world’s tuna stocks by developing the world’s first captive-breeding program.”
Ms Webster said so much good research for agriculture gets buried in low-traffic webpages or dark storerooms.
“The Research for Agriculture team is committed to taking good research off dusty shelves and putting it into action.
“Our model is straightforward,” she said.
“We invite the research community to send us the good oil on what’s happening here and abroad in agriculture.
“We curate this for various audiences – government, corporate, academic and the layman – and publish it through our website, newsletters, press releases and our magazine.”
She said Research for Agriculture will also run networking events across Australia through the year.
“I’d encourage everyone with deep interest in agricultural research to get involved.”