The School of Agriculture and Food Sciences is a varied and influential research group with unique expertise in its core business areas. The School provides a rich collaborative environment for researchers working on innovations and the School is known for its research quality and output and for the translation of research into practice where it can make a difference.
The focus of Agribusiness research within the School is agricultural food value chain innovation (VCI). This uses value chain analysis as a framework for economic, environmental and social development. The research scale extends from examining individual firms within chains, to whole of sector policy.
VCI research adopts a systems based approach. It draws on individual disciplines in diagnosing the performance of value chains and integrates results to develop innovation based solutions. This research is used to look at issues such as food safety and traceability, sustainable and ethical production, linking smallholders and markets, and value chain resilience and competitiveness.
The School has the largest postgraduate group that is involved in VCI in Australia (16 PhDs) and among the largest in the world. These research students are drawn from Australia, Nepal, Kenya, Pakistan, Malaysia, South Africa, UK and Canada.
Undergraduate Bachelor of Agribusiness students also conduct on-course international research projects in their final semester, funded by industry partners. Over 19 years we have conducted 70 projects in 16 countries with more than 300 researchers.
National partnerships include: University of Tasmania, University of Adelaide, Agriculture Western Australia, DEEDI
International partnerships include: University of Kent, UK; University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan; The George Morris Centre, Guelph, Canada; Centre for Agricultural Systems Research and Development, Vietnam; Huazhong Agricultural University, China.
Climate stress induced by both normal climatic conditions and climate change is an important issue facing the livestock industries in Australia and globally.
The food science research group within the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences is based at the St Lucia campus of UQ. This group has a dynamic research environment and strong links with the food industry and other research providers such as Dairy Innovations Australia, Horticulture Australia, Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation and AusAid.
- examining relationships between molecular level and processing-quality
- functional foods
- molecular food microbiology
- novel product and process developments in order to improve the functional and nutritional quality and shelf-life of the food and food products
Plant science researchers look at ways to improve production of food, pharmaceuticals and timber; control diseases, pests and noxious weeds, help plants better cope with weather extremes and global warming and design new plants for innovative purposes.
- plant defence mechanisms
- improving crop yields
- plant biofactories
- improving disease resistance
- plant nutritional enhancement and signal transduction
- Soil development and classification (pedology)
- Soil physics and soil/landscape processes
- Soil biology and ecology
- Soil chemistry
- Soil fertility and nutrient management
- Soil fertility and soil-plant interactions
- Nutrient cycling and nutrient use efficiency
- Biogeochemical cycling of elements from molecular through landscape scales, including the speciation, behaviour and fate of soil contaminants
- Soil and landscape degradation and consequent effects on terrestrial ecosystem functioning and agricultural productivity
- Reclamation of degraded lands
- Soil organic matter quality and its relationship to terrestrial ecosystem functioning and agricultural productivity
- Understanding the effects of climate change on soil functioning
- Characterising soil biological diversity and functioning through phylogenetic marker gene sequencing, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics
Wildlife Science at UQ focuses on the biology and management of wild animals, including their ecology and conservation.
Examples of wildlife research being undertaken include:
- ecology and conservation such as captive breeding and release of rehabilitated wildlife
- welfare and behavioural enrichment in reptiles, wombats and primates
- reproductive biology and physiology and assisted breeding and cryobiology across a wide range of species
- vertebrate pest management of rodents, wild dogs, deer, pigs, goats, kangaroos
A significant amount of research looks at providing greater knowledge of more effective management of wildlife and the basic biology associated with this. The Wildlife Science Unit actively collaborates with researchers in other schools within the Faculty of Science at UQ such as Veterinary Science; Geography, Planning and Environmental Management; and Biological Sciences.