A CSIRO Pathway to Careers in Agriculture for Development

We are so pleased to once again be presenting a NextGen panel on international careers in agriculture for development to some of the brightest young minds in Australia, as part of the CSIRO Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship Program in Agriculture and Food, to highlight that a career in agriculture can deliver global, professional and personal impacts.

We have cast our net to our wonderful NextGen to be part of a panel and Q&A event on 1 February 2024 in Canberra to feature passionate ag scientists highlighting their work in agriculture in developing countries and Australia, its benefits to Australian ag and its impact for our neighbours and for them. They will share their experiences exploring countries and cultures while having a rewarding career and making a difference.

The lucky vacation scholarships offer ‘high achieving and promising undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate with leading CSIRO scientists. Students work on a real world project and expand their skills and knowledge while exploring ways to solve a real world problem’.

“This will be the first NextGen event for 2024 as part of our suite of activities aimed at encouraging passionate next generation ‘NextGen’ Australians in their study, careers and volunteering for food and nutrition security,” said Cathy Reade, Director of Outreach and manager of the Crawford Fund’s NextGen program.

“We are very pleased to be part of the CSIRO efforts to engage high achieving and promising undergraduate students with the opportunity to collaborate with leading CSIRO researchers over the summer break, and to hear from our NextGen with their international focus,” she said.

The event moderator and speakers below are working in a variety of research areas and we thank them for their eagerness to be involved:


Anna Mackintosh is on RAID’s Central Committee and is passionate about agriculture for international development to achieve food security through international and cross-cultural mechanisms. Since she was a Crawford Fund Conference Scholar in 2019, Anna has been a scholar mentor and speaker throughout the Scholar Program. Whilst studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours), she also received a Crawford Fund Student Award to travel to Timor-Leste to work on a project targeting improved maternal and child nutrition through nutrition-sensitive agriculture.  Anna was a Program Support Officer at ACIAR in the Social Systems program, then a Senior Policy Officer at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources in the Strategic Policy Division and is now a Senior Program Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Development Policy Division.


Ollie Gales works in Climate Negotiations in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. He is a Rhodes Scholar and Crawford Fund 2019 Student Awardee. His passion is to contribute to international and cross-cultural policy and governance, to make tangible differences and create frameworks for public good. Policy and governance have the potential to make real advances towards combating world issues in a way that is sustainable, ethical and socially inclusive. He is continuing my journey armed with commitment, courage and energy to further his skills, knowledge and experience to play a part in delivering sustainable development for communities and countries around the world.

Mikayla Hyland-Wood is a Graduate Researcher at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and President of the Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) Network. Her interest in agricultural research for development began while she was completing an Honours degree at the ANU on carbon-sensitive coffee systems in Papua New Guinea, and continues to drive her research interests in soil health, coffee production and gender equity. With experience in river restoration, farm planning, and agricultural research, Mikayla looks forward to pursuing further studies and a career in global food security research.

Sam Coggins has a degree in agricultural science, won the Sydney University Convocation Medal and received a Crawford Fund Student Award and CSIRO Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship during his undergrad degree. He’s now doing an interdisciplinary PhD at ANU researching how farmers in Bihar (India) access and share farming know-how using their mobile phones, in the context of nutrient management in rice farming. Sam became passionate about working with smallholders following an internship at the International Rice Research Institute and a semester in Sri Lanka during his undergrad ag science degree. Previously, Sam was a graduate at the ACIAR and then a research associate at Cornell University, analysing use and impacts of digital farming services in low- and middle-income countries.