Media Release: Centre of Excellence Harnesses Proteins in Australia’s Flora and Fauna for Multiple Benefits

22 August 2022

The Assistant Minister for Education, Senator Anthony Chisholm, today launched the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science (CIPPS), which will offer solutions to agricultural and health challenges.

The Centre seeks to discover new proteins and peptides (smaller versions of proteins) from Australia's flora and fauna, decode them, and develop new proteins and peptides that can be applied in agriculture, health and other industries.

Senator Chisholm said the Centre’s research was an example of the dividends paid from the Government’s investment in research. 

“This ARC Centre of Excellence will position Australia as an international hub for protein and peptide research, which will be translated for the benefit of Australians and the rest of the world,” Senator Chisholm said.

“For example, the Centre is working towards ecofriendly bio-pesticides for sustainable and profitable food production and, in partnership with CSIRO and their Future Protein Mission, alternative protein sources to feed the world.

“Previous investment in biomolecular research has already led to a substantial investment, through the Centre’s partners, in future clinical trials of a potentially life-saving drug derived from the venom of a funnel web spider,” Senator Chisholm said.

ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Judi Zielke said as well as driving important research, the ARC Centres of Excellence played an important role in supporting young researchers.

“As with all ARC Centres of Excellence, CIPPS will nurture the next generation of researchers so this great work can continue into the future,” Ms Zielke said.

“ARC Centres of Excellence are among of Australia’s most prestigious meeting points of expertise, bringing high-quality researchers together and developing our international standing in priority research areas.”

The ARC is providing funding support of $35 million over seven years under the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme, coupled with an additional $54 million and in-kind support from national and international partners.

CIPPS is one of nine new ARC Centres of Excellence that were awarded a total of $308.8 million funding in the agency’s 2020 round.