La Trobe University has received a A$10 million grant from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund to turbocharge its agricultural research capabilities.

The funds will be split between La Trobe’s Agriculture Production Platform ($3.5 million), to expand research glasshouses, create new growth facilities and controlled environment pods; and its Applied Industry Agri Platforms ($6.5 million), to develop laboratory facilities to house dedicated plant phenomics growth chambers which will be digitally accessible to regional industry, researchers and students.

The refurbished glasshouses will provide industry partners with the opportunity to rapidly optimise management and breeding, and use big data to improve yield, quality and plant health.

Victoria agriculture minister Mary-Anne Thomas said: “Victoria has some of the world’s best scientists dedicated to helping solve challenges like climate change. We are equipping them with the facilities and apparatus they need to do their work effectively, ensuring solutions are delivered to our farmers sooner.”

Cann Group CEO Peter Crock added: “It is really exciting to be at the forefront of a new opportunity in agriculture, and we look forward to working closely with La Trobe to leverage this capability. Strict regulations around the world have meant this type of research ecosystem is extremely rare, and it is going to be a significant boost for the emerging industry in Victoria and Australia.”

The new facilities are expected to be ready by September 2022.