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Southern Cross University, located in the Northern Rivers of NSW, has developed a vision for the region to become the international centre for research, development and production of natural plant products. These products include those used in natural and complementary medicine, as well as in cosmetic applications and nutraceuticals.


Southern Cross University is Australia’s leading university for research and education into natural plant products and complementary medicine. It has developed the Centre for Phytochemistry and Pharmacology and the Cellulose Valley Institute.

The Centre for Phytochemistry and Pharmacology (CPP) at Southern Cross University undertakes traditional academic, commercial and speculative research in the field of plant chemistry and bioactivity. It is a postgraduate research centre of Southern Cross University.

The Centre combines skills in analytical chemistry, structural elucidation and pharmacology. It operates 8 state-of-the-art research laboratories and employs a team of scientists, technicians, research students and support staff. Membership to the Centre allows affiliated University staff and other designated research scientists access to the laboratories and the Centre’s knowledge base.

Cellulose Valley Institute is the world’s most comprehensive plant research collective. It is a global leader in state-of-the-art plant products research and development. Cellulose Valley Institute provides a complete range of services for the research and development of natural plant products.

As a direct reference to ‘Silicon Valley’, the IT conglomerate in California, Cellulose Valley Institute is about uniting the groups involved at all stages of the R&D process. This may include researchers, primary producers, manufacturers, government regulators, health practitioners, and educators.

Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics

Southern Cross University  has also developed the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics.  The Centre has now been active since 1996, allowing a number of significant scientific outcomes to be generated.

The Centre has attracted around $30 million in research funding and established international research collaborations. Research infrastructure has expanded considerably with the construction of several specialised and general research laboratories in addition to, administration and office areas. Glasshouse and plant growth facilities have been expanded with the support of the Australian Research Council and Southern Cross University.

Staff numbers have increased to match the growth in laboratory and office space. Reviews of centre management have been undertaken to identify the needs of the Centre as it continues to grow. The pace of application of molecular techniques in plant science continues to increase providing many new opportunities for the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics.


The Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics through its research activities has developed several areas of expertise and is now able to offer this experience commercially through DNA analysis services, the propagation and management of living plant materials, and a repository of DNA for Australian native and crop plants.

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 Image(s) courtesy of Ballina Shire Council

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