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University of Southern Queensland leads innovative hemp CRC bid

Professor Gavin Ash from the University of Southern Queensland is leading the bid to form a Cooperative Research Centre for hemp.

It has the potential to be one of the most sustainable and profitable cropping solutions in Australia and now University of Southern Queensland is spearheading an innovative research bid to explore the immense production possibilities of hemp.

Across core research focus areas including production, health and materials, this bid will address the long-term sustainability of hemp-based industries in the future.

UniSQ is collaborating with research and industry partners nationally and internationally to investigate how hemp could be the basis for a profitable, sustainable, national industry that is globally competitive into the future.

Executive Director of the University’s Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment, Professor Gavin Ash, is leading the bid to form a Cooperative Research Centre for hemp – the hemp CRC.

“Our bid is for a decade of funding which would result in the biggest single investment in the hemp industry in the southern hemisphere,” Professor Ash said.

“It’s an incredibly bold vision that the research and industry consortium have for this CRC, but it’s one that’s worth very deep consideration and could offer a vast array of benefits to the growth and support of a number of core industry sectors in Australia, and as a result, boost our national economy.

“There’s been a long-held view around hemp in our society and it’s time to advance how the industry is understood and take advantage of what it has to offer.”

Professor Kerryn Phelps AM has been announced as the Chair Elect for the hemp CRC bid. Kerryn brings a wealth of expertise and experience as a politician, medical practitioner, author and journalist.

“I am incredibly excited by the potential of this emerging industry and the active collaboration of our industry partners in the bid development."

Professor Ash said hemp was an attractive crop option for Australian farmers as it grows fast, is drought-tolerant, and sequesters carbon.

“It’s a high-value crop that enables farmers to diversify their farming systems and also build soil health through crop rotation,” he said.

“This focus is about building an industry that has a sustainable supply chain and sustainable outcomes, from supporting the industrial uses hemp lends itself to, through to its known health benefits.

“Ultimately, hemp is a crop of tomorrow and here in Australia we have the land, resources, supportive legislation and expertise that all combine to offer our country a sustainable, profitable and globally competitive industry that is data-driven and based in good science.”

For more information about the hemp CRC, visit