Background for our 2024 Conference

As Australia’s key food security event, the Crawford Fund annual conference has again chosen a topic that is front of mind for those involved in food and nutrition security. This is why our annual conference consistently attracts delegates who want to be part of the discussion and network with experts and key players to improve our understanding, appreciation and impact for food and nutrition security.

The Crawford Fund’s 2024 Annual Conference will emphasise the importance of partnerships, consultation, and collaboration for codesigning and delivering high quality agricultural research for development projects and capacity building programs. We strongly believe that such projects can have more impact and be better integrated into local cultures and structures including families, communities, policies and strategies.

Success and impact depend on ensuring research is relevant, credible, legitimate and effective as well as open and accessible to everyone. There is a growing voice to the idea that an “engineering mindset” that prioritises technical innovations, academic definitions of research excellence, unequal research collaborations, and funding constraints inhibit strategic and transformative research.

Many will agree that taking co-ownership, equity, shared analysis, and feedback as key principles for research-in-development can assist in moving from transfer of technology to recognizing and working within the specific political and institutional contexts of food systems, whether aquatic or land-based agriculture, forestry and natural resources management.  As western trained scientists, we are prone to forget that the socio-economic, political and governance frameworks that operate elsewhere may be quite different from those we are used to.

The Crawford Fund aims to ensure that research and capacity building that we support should be based around genuine partnerships with overseas counterparts and engender two-way learning, rather than the simplistic notion of training overseas researchers or farmers to implement Australian methods and models with limited acknowledgement of local social and economic systems and knowledge.

The conference will highlight the importance of co-design of projects, consultation and partnership arrangements, project governance and capacity building needs. 

Once again we have used our wonderful network, built over the 36 years of our operation and 30 years of conferences, to bring together eminent international and Australian speakers, and many project partners from around the globe. Their experience, successes and lessons will explain how they have moved to new, better ways to ensure partnerships, local leadership and co-design for food and nutrition security.

Our conference audience will again include views from science, agriculture, politics, business and civil society to help focus our attention on the way forward.

We look forward to seeing you at our 2024 conference and hope that the focus on these significant issues improves understanding, appreciation and impact for all our work to ensure food and nutrition security.