Research Programme 2: Agrifood Informatics Research Programme

The Agrifood Informatics Research Programme (RP2) will unblock stranded (open) data assets & data analytics, whilst also catalysing relevant data sets from diverse sources including transactional data, static sensors, mobile sensors (robotics, Unmanned Arial Vehicles - UAVs) & remote (satellite) sensing. According to the “Rural Industry Futures” report developed by CSIRO for the RIRDC, “variability in returns to agriculture has increased significantly due to increased climate variability, volatile exchange rates & fluctuations in market demand. Skills & systems to effectively anticipate & manage these increasing risks are a crucial component of the future for the sector.” This report stresses the need to utilise informatics technologies to build transparent farm‐to‐fork supply chains & notes the growing risk of swings in consumer perceptions of healthiness that cause food products to lose or gain substantial market positions.

Five key sets of activities will be undertaken:

Situational Awareness

- Develop data analytics for awareness of plant & animal production processes including water, nutrition, pests, diseases, quality, safety, shelf life, & production, profitability, environmental impact.

- Develop data analytics for awareness of consumer & buyer demands, preferences & willingness to pay for safe & sustainably-produced food.

Decision Making & Optimisation

- Develop methodologies for mapping agrifood decisions & information requirements.

- Develop analytics considering value chain data complexity & integration of biophysical & socio-economic models.

- Design visualisation & user-interfaces to aid decision making.

- Develop optimisation strategies for intervention to achieve business outcomes from farm to plate.

Adaptation to Emerging Opportunities & Threats

- Detect opportunities arising from data analytics indicating demand & characteristics for products, markets & identifying gaps.

- Assist industry to mitigate & adapt to potential threats informed by identified changes in environmental conditions, political contexts, regulation, technologies, shifts in market demand & other unforeseen circumstances.

Commercialisation

- Deploy new informatics platforms that enable risk informed decision making at & along the value chain.

- Trial developed methods/technologies to reduce time to market & showcase to potential investors.

- Secure IP & knowledge with the potential for start-up ventures & new value propositions for existing companies.

Education

- Capacity & capability building of 36 HDRs via work integrated learning, leadership development & exchanges.

- Dissemination of research based knowledge through publications & training of 12 postdocs.

- “Design Central” to facilitate knowledge transfer, adoption & practice change via short courses & workshops & internships for producers & SMEs.