Research, technology and innovation

Strong government support for research and innovation

The New South Wales agriculture and food sector has been quick to recognise that investing in research, technology and innovation is the most effective way to get ahead in an increasingly competitive world market.

Agriculture, including aquaculture, and food businesses in NSW are among the most innovative in the country. In 2013–14, NSW agriculture businesses spent more than A$32 million on research and development (R&D), representing 22% of national R&D spending by businesses in the sector. At the same time, food product manufacturers spent A$215 million, or 36% of the national total.

The NSW Government also invests in a range of programs. In 2013–14, it allocated more than A$1.1 billion to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to secure world-class R&D and important services for regional communities.

The DPI is one of Australia’s largest primary industry research providers, spending more than A$100 million on R&D each year and managing more than 900 active research projects. More than 600 research staff members – many of them world leaders in their field – work with the DPI, playing essential roles in driving industry innovation. These people find practical solutions to productivity and sustainability challenges, to benefit the state’s primary industries. The DPI’s partnerships include working with The GATE (Global AgTech Ecosystem), a collaborative research and technology facility that seeks to develop agricultural technology.

The NSW Government is also directing strategic investment towards ‘frontier’ technologies, particularly in the agriculture, biotechnology, fisheries, functional foods and genomics industries.

An example of its support includes collaborating with The Yield, a company identified by Microsoft as a leading global innovator in artificial intelligence (AI).

The Yield is developing technological solutions that will transform food and farming practices through an ecosystem of sensors, data analysis, AI and apps that help farmers make faster, more informed decisions.