Congratulations to the successful applicants from the latest round of the CEAT Strategic Investment Program. Two applications were successful in the latest round of funding – Prof Justin Borevitz (Research School of Biology) and team for their proposal titled ‘Linking farm management with plant & soil measurement via dynamic modelling’, and the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program (BSGIP), led by Prof Lachlan Blackhall, for the project titled ‘Multi Energy System Modelling for the Agricultural Sector’.
The Strategic Investment Program provides funding support to ANU researchers looking to have real-world impacts in the agricultural sector through collaborations with industry. Categories of support include:
- Scoping projects to undertake preliminary investigations into industry need for an idea or solution they are looking to develop;
- Engagement projects to undertake workshop, co-design and/or prototyping activities with industry partners to refine ideas and solutions; and,
- Collaboration projects to provide seed funding to support interdisciplinary teams to leverage external funds for projects that develop solutions to an industry-identified challenge in the agricultural sector.
The group led by Prof Justin Borevitz, were successful in the Engagement category for a project which looks at measuring above and below ground plant and soil data. The initial results will be used for calibration of a hyperspectral soil carbon tool to enable rapid and cost effective analysis. Ultimately the aim is to link changes in plant growth and development with below ground carbon allocation across wet and dry years, as well as different crop and soil types. The funding will be used to collect and measure soil carbon throughout the year in multiple crops and environments to provide the initial data needed to scale the model for use in different farming environments. The CEAT funded project will enable prototyping leading to greater competitiveness in forthcoming bids focussed on soil carbon measurement and validation.
The Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program was awarded SIP funding in the Collaboration category for a potential project looking at ways to help decarbonise the pork industry, including harnessing methane by-products as an alternative energy source. The project will use a new multi energy modelling capability that was developed at BSGIP (called echo) that integrates several tools together into a unified energy modelling workflow. The software will be used to gather and analyse the data on energy usage in the various stages of pork production. The software can forecast CO₂ emissions, model optimal energy usage across the production system, and work out ways assets can be used to minimise operational costs. The project will support data gathering and analysis, and further development of the echo modelling tool in the pork production context. Echo has been deployed in more traditional energy systems but this is the first application in an agricultural context. If the project proves successful, it has the potential to be rolled out for use more widely in other agricultural settings.
Thank you to all applicants for their interest in the program. We are working with the other applicants to strengthen their applications for future rounds of the program through improved partnering with industry. The CEAT Strategic Investment Program will open its next round to Engagement and Collaboration projects in June/July. Expressions of interest for Scoping projects are open any time, please see our website for further details.