This week Sophie Mirabella, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, flew in from Canberra to tour the Murdoch-based WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre (SABC) and to discuss capacity building.
Her visit followed from Murdoch’s Associate Professor Mehmet Cakir’s attendance at the“Science meets Parliament” forum in Canberra this month where he extended the invitation to Mrs Mirabella.
Arriving at the campus on Tuesday, she was met by five of Murdoch’s leaders in science research and development: Murdoch’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Jim Reynoldson; Professor of Agricultural Biotechnology and Foundation Director of SABC, Michael Jones; Faculty of Sustainability, Environment and Life Sciences Dean Stuart Bradley, the Crop and Plant Research Institute Director John Howieson and Associate Professor Mehmet Cakir.
Professor Jones, who specialises in crop and plant biotechnology and the genetic manipulation of plants, briefed Mrs Mirabella on the State’s major agricultural centre before the group discussed capacity building and access to Federal Government funds at Murdoch University and in WA.
“The relocation of the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, staff to Murdoch’s campus is highly significant,” Professor Reynoldson said.
“Murdoch University is poised to be at the centre of the State’s research and development powerhouse in training and education for agriculture.”
Mrs Mirabella said the key for success was greater engagement with Canberra in building science and innovation capacity in WA.
Mrs Mirabella heard from Professor Howieson on the research capacity of Murdoch in agricultural biotechnology, genomics and bioinformatics.
She also took the opportunity to further discuss with Associate Professor Cakir his gene discovery project that aims to safeguard Australia from insect pests, following their meeting at the “Science meets Parliament” forum.