The launch of the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre (MRIC) in Mildura has been haled as the beginning of a new commitment to research, innovation and collaboration for the Mallee region.
MRIC, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and SuniTAFE, would 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 Regional Development Jaclyn Symes highlighted the $1.7 million investment as a demonstration of the Victorian Government's commitment to regional Victoria when she launched the Centre recently.
"We are so proud to support the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, which will be a hub for world-class research and development in the region," Ms Symes said.
Centre Co-Director Professor Michael Stewardson, 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 would 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.
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.
Chair of the Strategic Advisory Panel Leonie Burrows said the were great benefits from 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," she said.
Local community leader Rebecca Wells took on the role as Chief Executive of MRIC earlier this month.