May 30, 2008
May 30, 2008 - Wool research is imploding. After July, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) will no longer have a Fiber and Textiles division. It has announced it will merge into the Materials Science and Engineering sector of the research body.
Starting in the next financial year, the national research arm will cut its annual wool research spending in half to $2 million, with another $2 million coming from the Australian Government's Sheep Cooperative Research Centers (CRC) Program.
CSIRO's acting chief of Fiber and Textiles, Bill Humphries, said CSIRO has to reflect what is happening in the real world, and CSIRO policy is moving away from mature industries such as wool.
"Climate change, energy and water management are taking priority," Humphries said.
With the Sheep CRC set to continue for another five years, CSIRO wool research will continue into improving wool's comfort characteristics and to help turn the fiber into a more trans-seasonal textile.
"We have had quite a significant funding drop off from Australian Wool Innovation over the years as it has moved towards a marketing focus and put fewer resources into research," concluded Humphries. Reprinted in part from Stock and Land, Australia