The past five years has seen remarkable expansion in the Victorian food industry. Over 1.8 billion dollars has been invested in new plant and new technology; exports of processed food have almost doubled; and significant numbers of small to medium sized firms have established themselves as exporters.
Major changes have also taken place in food research in this State. Formation of the Australian Food Industry Science Centre as a joint venture between the Food Research Institute at Werribee and RMIT, VUT and the University of Melbourne was an important first step in achieving closer research collaboration.
Now, the re-location of CSIRO Division of Food Science and Technology to Werribee, and the establishment of Food Science Australia with the involvement of key industry figures on the Board, has created a research organisation that is significant in world terms.
These developments are creating a range of new opportunities, and new demands, for food research. More firms now wish to be more closely involved in the process of identifying critical areas for future research, to gain and maintain a leading edge. Increasingly, business and industry users of research are looking to universities for new products and techniques, and for access to ideas, expertise and specialist skills - qualities which can be acquired through basic research and research training.
The Government, through its industry policy, its science and technology policy and its services, supports the cultivation of a strong research base that can provide a platform for the types of external partnerships which applied research can generate.
This Guide seeks to demonstrate to industry the excellence and diversity of our Victorian University research sector, and to encourage the formation of cooperative links that will meet the needs of Victoria's key growth industry.