More than 80 people turned out to the CEAT Innovation Hub last week for what was a fitting celebration of the achievements of our first five years.
At the event, ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt spoke about the importance of CEAT in providing the environment and support structures to enable ANU-industry collaborations to thrive.
“To support the global energy and food systems of the future, the world will need engineers, computer scientists, plant scientists, agricultural economists, and experts in policy, regulation and consumer behaviour,” Professor Schmidt said.
“ANU is home to some of the world’s foremost experts in these domains.
“While ANU is not a traditional agricultural university, we are working, through CEAT, to develop the capability needed to support the agri-food industries of the future.
“I am excited to see the innovative projects which are being supported by CEAT, harnessing the significant talent we have here at ANU.”
He was joined on stage by Dr Anna El Tahchy, CTO of former Hub member Nourish Ingredients, a business which has gone from strength to strength since its early days in the CEAT Hub.
Anna spoke of the company’s journey, cutting their teeth in the Hub and labs at the ANU Research School of Chemistry, before moving out to a facility in Mitchell where their business is growing exponentially in line with an increasing demand for alternative proteins.
She said the company has attracted significant financial investment from Australia and overseas, and urged the ACT Government to support startups like Nourish to remain in Canberra.
“We have raised over USD40 million so far, and have interest from across the world, including companies you would know, like Kelloggs,” she said.
CEAT Director Owen Atkin thanked the community of people who contributed to establishing CEAT, both in concept and funding.
“Thank you to ACT Government for the funding you provided through the Key Capability Area and Priority Investment Program, that was $1.8 million which enabled us to get the wheels turning for what would become CEAT,” he said.
“CSIRO was important in designing what CEAT could be – having a focus on agri-technology and entrepreneurialism. I thank them for helping shape that.
“And finally to the academics and professional staff at ANU. CEAT does not do research, all we do is connect outside opportunities with internal capability. So to all the people who have been a part of those projects, thank you.”
The Chief Minister was unable to attend the event due to commitments interstate, but he kindly shared some words via video. You can watch his message here.