Empowering farmers, revolutionising agriculture, and securing a sustainable food future

The Centre for Crop and Food Innovation (CCFI) is committed to crafting cutting-edge solutions to address current and future agricultural challenges, improving farmers' profitability, contributing to food security and promoting environmental sustainability for future generations. By integrating a broad spectrum of disciplines, including genomics, gene editing, molecular biology, bioinformatics, physiology, pathology, agronomy, and digital agriculture, CCFI’s research efforts are directed towards enhancing crop production and quality, increasing tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, mitigating the impacts of climate change, boosting crop productivity on marginal lands and extending the shelf life of food and improving taste and nutritional value for a positive impact on human health.

Rajeev Varshney portrait

Meet Professor Rajeev Varshney

Director of the Centre for Crop and Food Innovation

I am proud to lead the CCFI team with its dedication to the development of cutting edge technological solutions to meet the agricultural challenges of the future. The pioneering research carried out by the CCFI is focused on creating positive outcomes for a range of major global agricultural issues: accelerated improvements in yield, quality and tolerance, protection from increasing biological and environmental stress, enhanced nutrition and environmental sustainability.

The increasingly noticeable effects of climate change, and with a global population forecast to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, there is growing recognition that scientific research must play a leading part in overcoming these worldwide challenges.  Closer to home, our location in Western Australia – with its status as a major regional grains exporter - provides us with a strong motivation to help Australian farmers stay competitive in global marketplaces and to contribute to global food and nutrition security.

The CCFI is well-placed to play a central role in the years ahead with its globally acknowledged reputation for capitalising on new technologies and securing investments in crop agriculture.

Meet our researchers

Our research goals

Farmer running hands through wheat field

Farmer profitability

Our research is dedicated to enhancing crop quality and yield to keep Australian grain producers competitive in world markets for example, we focus on improving the protein content and baking quality of wheat. Additionally, we use genomics and the latest molecular technologies to produce new crop varieties which are resilient to both abiotic and biotic stresses and possess improved input use efficiencies, leading to improved profitability in changing climate scenarios.

Harvestor in the fields at sunset

Food security

Our research focuses on pioneering food production frontiers, from sequencing genomes to developing new crop varieties and to adding value to food products. Our researchers examine the genetic makeup of plants to understand and enhance resilience, nutritional content and growth efficiency. Our mission is to develop sustainable crop varieties specifically designed to overcome the twin challenges of a changing climate and the nutritional needs of a burgeoning global population.

Crop of green wheat

Environmental sustainability

CCFI's research targets global greenhouse gas emissions, soil health improvement, and non-harmful pest and disease management.

We strive to preserve biodiversity with minimal ecosystem damage and meet health and biosecurity challenges affecting humans, animals, plants and their shared environment.

Aerial shot of crops

Our research themes

Learn how our scientists and experts leverage world class technology to reach our research goals.

Learn more

Our strengths

Links to industry and international agriculture

CCFI engages both the public and private sectors, ensuring that genetic products and research findings are readily accessible to stakeholders and end-users. Our strong connections to the grains, pastures and horticultural industries guarantee that our research outputs are compatible with industry best practices, community engagement, vocational training, and evidence-based government policies. CCFI maintains strong international networks in the agriculture sector, with our translational research contributing scientific input to global public policy decisions.

Genetic editing, functional genomics & systems biology

We leverage and integrate multi-omics datasets with efficient, customisable gene-editing tools to decipher the function of biological systems,providing a systems-level understanding of complex plant phenotypes related to adaptation, yield, and end-use. Ultimately, this knowledge informs the design of new approaches to increase resilience, productivity and profitability.

Genomics, bioinformatics and prebreeding

Through the use of  the State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre’s Advanced Genomics Platform (AGP) facility, CCFI is engaged in de novo assembly, pangenomics, haplotype cataloguing, spatial transcriptomics, predictive breeding and database development, as well as AI and machine learning approaches to aid pre-breeding and crop research.

Multidisciplinary approach

CCFI fosters collaboration and inclusivity, employing both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches in all research endeavours. Across genomics to physiology, pathology, and soil sciences, we take pride in our ability to engage experts across diverse fields for collaborative efforts.

Our approach

graphic of dna and test tubes

Ingenious genomics research

CCFI is dedicated to empowering farmers and enhancing their competitive edge in the global market.  Our world-class facilities are leading the way towards improved crop genomics, genetics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. Our state-of-the-art sequencing and high-performance computing facilities enable the development of extensive genomic resources, including reference genomes, pangenomes, markers, superior haplotypes, candidate genes and genotyping platforms. These tools are crucial for both fundamental and applied research aimed at crop improvement. Our multidisciplinary approach enables in-depth exploration of trait biology, offering genetic solutions and advanced pre-breeding technologies to breeders.

Harvested wheat in tray

Innovative agricultural biotechnology

Our extensive expertise and multidisciplinary approach empower us to address critical challenges faced by Australian farmers, devising innovative solutions to enhance crop yield, improve quality, increase tolerance to biological and environmental stresses. Using cutting-edge genetic engineering methods, we transfer genes between related or unrelated species, employing recombinant DNA technology to develop genetically modified (GM) plants. Our research also focuses on non-GM enhancements in yield, quality and reducing losses from pests, diseases and environmental conditions. We work towards harmonising Australian genetic engineering regulations while promoting consumer awareness and acceptance of genetically engineered crops to ensure better food outcomes for all.
Tractors and machinery in field

Inventive agri-tech and food technologies  

Our teams of scientists, engineers and industry experts collaborate to unlock crop potential, employing advanced techniques including remote sensing, robotics, and real-time sensors for crop and soil monitoring. Digital technologies, supported by advanced analytics, are providing practical solutions for Australian growers, aiding informed decisions on agricultural inputs, pest and disease management. Precision agriculture, guided by real-time data and integrated systems, is revolutionising Australian farming, leading to increased yields, optimised input efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced environmental protection. Advances in food and nutrition science contribute value to products through research on prolonging export shelf lives minimising anti-nutritional compounds and substituting plant proteins for animal proteins

Hands in soil with sapling

Key partnerships

Our strong domestic and international partnerships enable and enhance our research.

Meet our research partners

News from the Centre

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