The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is a research institute at the University of Tasmania specialising in research, development, extension and education to support prosperous, innovative and sustainable agriculture and food sectors in Tasmania. TIA began in 1997 as a joint venture between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government, bringing together the human and physical resources of the Tasmanian Government with the scientific research and teaching capacity of the University of Tasmania.
The JM Roberts Charitable Trust was established in 2003 by the late John Roberts with a goal to provide additional funding to support and promote the well-being of our natural environment today and for generations to come.
Specifically, the Trust has a focus in the areas of reducing land and soil degradation, clean waterways, re-vegetation, managing erosion and informing and educating the community and youth on the importance of land care.
2022 Nuffield Scholar
Tasmanian Scholar on the cutting edge of medicinal cannabis research
Max Edgley will study the opportunities for medicinal cannabis producers in Australia, thanks to a Nuffield Scholarship supported by JM Roberts Charitable Trust and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.
As the cultivation manager at one of Australia’s largest medicinal cannabis producers and manufacturers, Tasmanian Botanics Pty Ltd, Max oversees all aspects of the plants’ cultivation.
“The medicinal cannabis industry in Australia is in its infancy, with only a handful of companies operating at a commercial level,” Max says.
“Though the industry is small and lacks a well-resourced research organisation, I am active in discussions with professionals within the industry to learn of challenges faced by other producers and the industry as a whole.”
Max highlights many opportunities for the industry, including using a mix of indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse cultivation; incorporating high-tech horticulture techniques; and automating cannabis-specific cultivation procedures. He also suggests that investigating the usage of supplemental lighting, climatic controls and cultivar selection can maximise yields.
Developing and optimising postharvest procedures, breeding new genetics to drive cannabis yields, and overcoming regulatory challenges will be critical to his research.
Max will travel to Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain as they are key countries that have a more mature medicinal cannabis industry than Australia. Through this travel, Max hopes to help the Australian industry to become globally competitive.
“The findings of this study will help contribute to the rapid growth of the industry over the next decade,” he says.
Max Edgley’s Nuffield Scholarship is made possible with the generous support of the JM Roberts Charitable Trust and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.
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