Welcome back to the LBS Innovation Series, developed in 2018 by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at the La Trobe Business School. We kick-off this year’s series with a Summary Report by Mark discussing the key take-aways from the LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum. Please access the full report below.

LBS Innovation Series

The LBS Innovation Series is based on the annual LBS forums that promote two-way knowledge transfer and opportunities for direct dialogue between cutting science and technology researches and business leaders. The LBS Forums provide insights as to how La Trobe University can contribute to best help businesses to innovate and deal with disruption.

2017 NIF

In 2018, the LBS Innovation Series explored how to create sustainable bonds between universities and industry with a view towards creating a more mature innovation culture and ecosystem. The blogs were based on the successful LBS/NORTHLink National Innovation Forum (NIF) held at the end of 2017. More information and last year’s blogs on this event can be found here.

2018 IFAF

In 2019, the LBS Innovation Series will focus on innovation in the food production and agribusiness sector in Australia. The blogs are based on the successful LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (IFAF), held at the end of 2018. We explore the role innovation plays in food production and agribusiness and how to succeed globally in an era of increased disruption.

Introduction to the 2019 LBS Innovation Series

In the video below, Mark gives an overview of the LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum and provides an introduction to the 2019 LBS Innovation Series.

Challenges and gaps for Australian food and agribusiness

The overall discussion during the 2018 forum was very positive in terms of the opportunities for Australian food and agribusiness to meet increasing global demand for food and fibre. However, several challenges and gaps were noted that need to be addressed to maximise the sector’s productivity potential.

The gaps include:

  • Gap to Perfect’ – that is driving strategic management of firms to address the gaps between Australian business performance across the value chain and international best business practice.

  • Gaps between farm technology (farmers and their ‘ecosystem’) and the investment and finance community, tech developers, urban based research institutions and the agri-political community.

  • Gaps between agriculture and health scientists and researchers.

  • Gaps in youth education and training for this sector (i.e. data analytics, AgTech, robotics, computer and science literacy).

  • Gaps in expectations across customers (demand), producers (supply) and researchers (R&D).

  • Gaps in telecommunications and transport infrastructure holding back agriculture’s supply chain productivity.

  • Gaps in accurate data and agronomic insights for forecasting and risk assessment.

  • Gaps in the application of vision assisted capability in farm and manufacturing robotics.

  • Gaps in Australia’s current AgTech and agricultural science research funding models.

  • Gaps in the use of agriculture big data use driven by legal, privacy and cultural concerns.

The generally agreed view by delegates and speakers at the forum was that these gaps are not insurmountable but in the Australian context require greater private and public collaboration and investment to effectively bridge.

We will present each of the speaker presentations at the 2018 IFAF as part of the LBS Innovation Series throughout 2019.

Dr Mark Cloney is Professor of Practice in economics at LBS. Prior to joining La Trobe University, Mark was the Senior Executive Service officer responsible for enterprises risk management, business planning, audit and protective security in the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water. Mark teaches in the economics discipline in which he holds a PhD and in risk management practice.