Mr Furner was joined by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Director-General, Dr Beth Woods, to meet with USQ researchers, tour the Centre and learn more about the significant work being undertaken.
The Centre, which has evolved from the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, signifies an expanding international outreach, focussing on delivering applied, practical and profitable research solutions in Australia and overseas.
Mr Furner said the Queensland Government had been a significant supporter of agricultural engineering, having worked with USQ for more than two decades.
“Innovation is a key plank in ensuring the agriculture sector is a major driver of jobs in a stronger economy,” Mr Furner said.
“I’m proud to see what was formed here 25 years ago has graduated to a level of international esteem, further evidenced through the Centre’s international partnerships, such as John Deere, and relationships with various global universities,” he said.
“Today was a great opportunity to hear more about the research solutions USQ is delivering and how their work will continue to address agricultural and environmental challenges.”
USQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, said the announcement signalled a new era for USQ’s research to be recognised internationally as a leader in research and development.
“We are still the only university in Australia to offer an Agricultural Engineering degree and have a proud history of research in agricultural engineering that dates back to our origins and foundation of this institution more than 50 years ago,” Professor Mackenzie said.
“If we’re to meet global demands for food and fibre, many advancements are likely to come in agriculture through engineering-based solutions. USQ is already at the forefront of this and this announcement now positions us on an international stage.”
CAE Director, Professor Craig Baillie, said the new Centre will align national and global industry needs and opportunities, with the University’s considerable research capacity.
“The Centre’s research focus identifies where advancements are likely to come in agriculture that will revolutionise farming systems and create opportunities for farming in Queensland,” Professor Baillie said.
“We believe global growth, prosperity and sustainability of agriculture is dependent on the advancement of innovation, technology and practices that will occur through engineering solutions.
“CAE will build on well-established research and raise this to a new level which is internationally-recognised while providing greater value to our research partners, communities and stakeholders particularly in Australia and around the world.”
Dignitaries gather for the launch of the Centre for Engineering in Agriculture.