Protected Cropping Research Network

The Global Change Institute is (GCI) a unique research institute at UQ that draws together researchers from a range of disciplines to address major social and economic challenges. GCI adopts a model of research co-design by building collaborations between partners and researchers to develop wholistic research solutions.

The Protected Cropping Research Network unifies and mobilises UQ academic expertise from across nine faculties, institutes, schools and centres and resource units, including.

The Protected Cropping Research Network's mission is to develop and deliver unique and high-value outputs, products, and practice, with respect to growth and production of selected horticulture crops, within protected environments.

We leverage the university’s world-leading knowledge and capability in agriculture and horticulture science, in compliment with ingenuity and experienced enterprise of industry and community partners, in addition to governments, to co-design viable and beneficial solutions to meet needs of global demand.

The broad actions and outputs of the network work to advance current best practice, generate positive impact and add tangible value to industries, economies, societies, environments, and cultures through processes of research, knowledge transfer and product generation.


 The network aims to address challenges in food production, availability and food product innovation on three significant levels:

 1. Global Aspiration 

Supporting accessibility to future sources of food for the world’s growing and shifting population, through the provision of industry leading knowhow and developed technologies. Aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goal #2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. 

 2. National Innovation

Supporting development of new knowledge and practice through industry partnerships and leverage of university infrastructure. Aligns with UQ Strategy ‘Plan on a Page’ Establish new capability to support major strategic partnerships and embed new collaborative research strategy.

The network will utilise new infrastructure supported by university strategic funding, current resources at St. Lucia and Long Pocket, as well as resources provided by industry as a physical base for topical programmatic collaborative research.

A range of new high-tech glasshouses will establish environments for the controlled production of selected high-value crops primarily for food, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets.

Examples of works include tissue culture production, crop selection, genetics, and plant breeding, coupled with market and demand analytics, and economic modelling to enable greater reliability and reduce risk in decision making for businesses and industry.

New capabilities in partnership with industry will attract investment through capital networks demonstrating increasing interest to fund advancements and scalable production outputs in the Ag. and AgTech sector.

3. Regional Growth

Supporting translation of knowledge and skills into local businesses partnered with the network to enable growth and their access to new markets.

The network has consulted with and listened to industry who have expressed urgent need for available and suitably skilled employees.

UQ Skills are a participation member and valuable component to the network, providing a range of training modules across protected horticulture, digital technologies and advanced manufacturing.

Education, skills development, and training are a key parallel work package area within the network, for UQ’s partners and broader industry.