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USQ leads bid for ten-year hemp CRC

Manufacturing News

University of Southern Queensland is leading a bid for a ten-year Cooperative Research Centre, which would “explore the immense production possibilities of hemp”.

According to a statement from USQ on Monday, core research areas would include production, health and materials streams.

Supporters of a thriving industrial hemp industry in Australia point to attributes such as the plant’s drought tolerance, ability to sequester carbon dioxide, and fast growth. It has uses including in building materials, foods, medicine and clothing.

“This focus is about building an industry that has a sustainable supply chain and sustainable outcomes, from supporting the industrial uses hemp lends itself to, through to its known health benefits,”  said Professor Gavin Ash (pictured), the Executive Director of USQ’s Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment.

“Our bid is for a decade of funding which would result in the biggest single investment in the hemp industry in the southern hemisphere.

“It’s an incredibly bold vision that the research and industry consortium have for this CRC, but it’s one that’s worth very deep consideration and could offer a vast array of benefits to the growth and support of a number of core industry sectors in Australia, and as a result, boost our national economy.”

The CRC’s Chair Elect Professor Kerryn Phelps added that, “I am incredibly excited by the potential of this emerging industry and the active collaboration of our industry partners in the bid development.”

The Round 24 bid through the CRC Program is in its development stage, with partners including the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Hemp Fields Australia and Inconmat. 

An outcome on the bid is expected in April 2023, with funding anticipated to start the following July if the bid succeeds.

Picture: supplied

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