The launch of the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre (MRIC) in Mildura today, a joint venture between La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne and SuniTAFE, marks the beginning of a new commitment to research, innovation and collaboration for the Mallee region.
MRIC will further unite local stakeholders with research expertise to develop and adopt world’s best practice in production and environmental management to drive research in renewables, technology, the environment and water management.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes MP is expected to highlight the $1.7 million investment as a demonstration of the Victorian Government’s commitment to regional Victoria when she launches the Centre.
Centre Co-Director Associate Professor Ashley Franks from La Trobe University said MRIC’s work would build on La Trobe’s strong foundations in the area.
“MRIC will provide a link between local industry and the expertise of our six rural and city campuses. Working with local communities and partners is one of the best ways to provide broad benefits and we’re excited about the outcomes of collaboration the Centre offers,” he said.
Centre Co-Director Professor Michael Stewardson from the University of Melbourne said access to research would build the capacity of communities to adapt to change and anticipate risks.
“This is particularly important in response to climate change but there are other pressures and opportunities which are important across the Mallee,” he said.
The Centre will combine existing research and development expertise to address and respond to challenges arising from climate change, to retain the region’s position as a leader across horticulture, environment, energy and water management.
Chair of the Strategic Advisory Panel Leonie Burrows emphasised the benefits of local collaboration which MRIC would draw together.
“MRIC funded projects will involve Mallee industries and agencies and have realisable and practical outcomes for our community.”
Local community leader Rebecca Wells took on the role as Chief Executive of MRIC earlier this month.