Institute for Future

Growing the global bioeconomy


Our research tackles the grand economic, social and environmental challenges facing the world this century. Through this research theme, we are addressing real-world challenges in the agricultural sector.

Real-world trends

Around the world, 1 in 8 people does not have enough food to eat, and 1 in 4 has nutritional deficiencies. By 2050 global food demand is projected to increase by 70%.

Around a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, yet little of this waste is converted to valuable byproducts.

Society increasingly expects agricultural operations to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, but many people are still resistant to genetically modified agricultural products.

Grand challenges

The grand challenges the world must address in the agricultural sector are:

  • meeting human needs for food, feed, fibre and fuel as the global population grows
  • transforming the bioeconomy to make it more productive, profitable and sustainable
  • raising public awareness of the safety and benefits of genetically modified agricultural products.

Our research strategy


Our research is designed to drive these changes in the real world:

  • more profitable bioeconomy industries
  • more sustainable bioeconomy inputs
  • increased health benefits from food.


We are focused on developing agricultural processes and products that are better for consumers, the environment and the economy. We are investigating how to:

  • develop crops with improved nutritional value, taste and convenience
  • reduce reliance on water, nutrients and sprays
  • add value to commodity crops
  • turn surplus biomass into sustainable fuels, chemicals and other valuable products.

Research centres and facilities

We are associated with the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, which specialises in tropical agriculture research and has international expertise in plant biotechnology, process engineering, industrial chemistry and commercialisation.

We use several specialist research facilities, including:


We draw on the broad expertise of QUT's six faculties, assembling teams of researchers from different disciplines to work on large-scale projects relating to our natural, built and virtual environments.

Theme leader

Domain leaders

Leadership team

Science and Engineering Faculty

QUT Business School

Faculty of Health

Creative Industries Faculty


Industrial biotechnology, bioproducts and biorefining

QUT has Australia’s leading capability in industrial biotechnology and bioprocessing research. Our researchers have specialist expertise in producing high value products including chemicals, plastics and fuels from agricultural waste, and access to dedicated facilities such as the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant.

Biofuel Engine Research Facility

QUT offers Australia’s largest biofuel production testing facility, specialising in engine performance testing and biofuels emissions testing. Our researchers are committed to fuelling a greener Australia by continually refining biofuel composition for best performance and lowest emissions.

Plant nutrients and nutrition

Through sustainable agriculture, purple peapods and red artichokes are now a reality. By using new breeding techniques, scientists can remove weaknesses or include desired traits in plants, such as increased vitamin C or anthocyanin.

Next generation mungbeans

Mungbeans are a growing Queensland export industry worth around $120 million. Researchers from our Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities are helping Australian growers breed better mungbean varieties.

Partnership enquiries

Contact our leadership team about research partnership opportunities.