The NCEA develops solutions for a sustainable and profitable rural sector through applied engineering, research, training and commercialization.
During 2011 we expanded our research capability across our two programs and six theme areas. Staffing numbers have grown and we currently support in excess of 20 full time equivalent positions from contract research projects. In particular we are growing our capabilities in groundwater hydrology and soil and environmental science. The issue of food security and sustainable agriculture is becoming more important and a key focus area has been in developing precision farming systems and new technologies to improve cropping and animal production. Sustainable energy management in agriculture is also critical and NCEA are collaborating with a range of industries in improved energy usage, renewable energy options, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Our research capabilities are well aligned with the core research theme of USQ, namely Sustainable Systems through sustainable agriculture, energy and water resources and food security. The NCEA continue to be a leader in technology innovation as it applies to the agricultural and water sector. We were awarded more than $2.4million in grant and consultancy funding during 2011 and produced a record number of journal and conference research papers. During 2011 33 registered postgraduates were affiliated with the Centre. The diverse research capability of the NCEA is highlighted by the range of project areas NCEA staff were involved in during 2011.
The NCEA led arrangements for the 2011 International Symposium of the Australian Society for Engineering in Agriculture titled ‘Engineering in Agriculture – Diverse Challenges Innovative Solutions’ which was held on the Gold Coast on the 29th and 30th September 2011. This forum provided key opportunities to present and publish our work.
NCEA staff maintained our international profile through funded visits to the US, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, China, Egypt and New Zealand to present at conferences as invited key note speakers and attend meetings.
NCEA continues to deliver applied engineering, research, training and commercialization outcomes to a range of industry groups. These include cotton, sugar, grains, horticulture, nursery, dairy, turf and a range of meat and livestock industries. We also continue to work closely with the Queensland Government in particular through the Department of Environment and Resource Management.