Our research

Our research is guided by the NSW DPI’s Strategic Plan (2019-2023) and is focused on four major themes- protected cropping, market access & postharvest, food safety and plant biosecurity. Through our applied research outcomes, we contribute to the increased productivity, profitability and sustainability of the horticulture sector. Our translational research and outreach programs enhance food safety, biosecurity, market access and connection with the communities, industries and people.

Our scientists are well-known leaders in their respective fields of science and expertise. The applied research programs at CCPIC are externally funded by the industries (e.g. Hort Innovation) and State and Federal Governments. Multidisciplinary teams of researchers at CCPIC collaborate within and outside NSW DPI to deliver national and international projects. The CCPIC’s collaborative research network includes other state and federal government research agencies, universities, consulting firms, peak growers’ organisations, and industry. The CCPIC scientists lead as well as collaborate on the multi-institutional projects and consortia (e.g. Hort Frontiers, Future Food Systems, Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation, Sterile Insect Technique Plus Program, Clean Coastal Catchment) addressing the emerging issues facing the horticulture sector.

We have strong linkages with the universities (e.g. University of Newcastle, Western Sydney University, Macquarie University) to foster academia-industry relationships through joint research projects and postgraduate research supervision. Our key scientists hold adjunct faculty positions in these universities and participate in the education and research training of the next generation of researchers. The CCPIC research teams have been involved in the development of the horticulture sector in developing countries through various projects co-funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. The research outcomes from CCPIC have globally impacted the lives and/or livelihoods of primary producers, consumers and others involved in the horticultural supply chains.

Greenhouse and production research

Research crop growing in a greenhouseThe Greenhouse Horticulture section conducts research, advisory and education programs into production systems with the aim to increase profitability and productivity and assist growers to attain world's best-practice in producing high-quality, high-value fresh produce in sustainable systems.

Market Access

The research conducted at the Centre of Excellence for Market Access improves the profitability and sustainability of regional NSW by facilitating the export of NSW horticulture produce such as citrus, cherries and blueberries. It works with horticultural industries to develop and implement cost-effective phytosanitary protocols for export and also overcome non-phytosanitary barriers such as improved quality to provide these markets with high quality NSW produce. The Market Access team provides an integrated package of postharvest
and supply chain technical solutions to industry.

Horticultural Food Safety Research

Photo of research staff working on melonsThe aim of NSW DPI’s horticultural food safety research is to mitigate food safety risks to the horticultural industries and consumers. The whole-of-chain approach is followed in identifying and managing various types of food safety hazards across the supply chain. The cutting-edge research provides practical solutions to manage food safety risks during production and postharvest handling of fresh produce. Major projects include:

  • Innovative cold plasma for horticultural industries
  • Melon food safety

Biosecurity

Biosecurity and Food Safety research at CCPIC continues to contribute to the broader work done by the Biosecurity and Food Safety Branch. A focus on prevention and preparedness is fundamental to help Australia to achieve and maintain the disease-free status that gains substantial advantages for our plant products in international markets. Biosecurity scientists at CCPIC are leaders in their fields, researching better diagnosis, surveillance and prevention methodologies for emerging and exotic endemic plant pests and diseases, developing integrated pest and disease management strategies to control endemic plant pests. Image caption: DPI staff conducting biosecurity research

Plant biosecurity research

DPI staff conducting researchPlant pathology research at CCPIC focus on better understanding the ecology and management of plant pathogens to develop more effective and sustainable management options for diseases of horticultural crops, and, importantly, communicating these outcomes to the horticultural community. A team of researchers undertake work in industries such as blueberries, field and greenhouse vegetables and an array of fruit crops. The DPI and key researchers at CCPIC are partners in the national SITplus research consortium that seeks to manage the presence of Queensland fruit fly in many of Australia’s growing regions where the pest fly is present or a threat. They also conduct diagnostics and surveillance to contribute to maintaining an awareness of biosecurity threats to NSW.

Biometrics

DPI research staffThe NSW DPI Biometrics group provides a statistical consulting and training service to research staff of NSW DPI. The group also undertakes applied statistical research motivated by problems of relevance to NSW DPI or arising from collaborative projects from NSW DPI staff and industry. The Biometrics group plays an important training role in the provision of both basic and specialised courses in statistics, research methodology and the use of statistical packages. Its role is to underpin the research portfolio of NSW DPI with the provision of high quality biometrics advice to ensure validity and efficiency for the research effort and expenditure.

Shark Meshing

The Shark Meshing Supervisor is based at the Ourimbah location and manages all aspects of the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program (SMP) in accordance with the Joint Management Agreement and Management Plan. The SMP incorporates the use of shark nets at 51 beaches from Wollongong to Newcastle from 1st September to 30th April each year.

Laboratory certifications

  • ISO 9001 certified Laboratory Quality Management System.