PhD student, University of Adelaide
Sponsored by the SA Committee
After completing an agricultural science degree with honours in soil sustainability at Sydney University, Brendan spent a year as a graduate research officer at ACIAR before undertaking an Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development assignment with the FAO in Accra, Ghana. He is now six months into a PhD at University of Adelaide examining the contextual constraints of innovation adoption by smallholder farmers, in order to better target agricultural development programs. He will be involved in the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) project implemented by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and will use Conservation Agriculture in East Africa as a case study for his doctorate. Brendan is attending the conference to hear world class speakers and network with young researchers like himself.
…the conference has reinvigorated my drive and purpose and fostered a good deal of hope for my potential contribution to the discipline and the rural poor.”
Attending the Crawford fund conference was one of the more beneficial things I’ve done since starting my PhD. Firstly, the conference has certainly contributed to my renewed purpose, having had the opportunity to take in the increasing problems but also opportunities to addressing the broken food system. With the strong networking theme throughout the conference, I was able to place my research within the broader sphere of other’s work. This reminded me of where my work fits in and the niche that still exists for my research outputs. As I continue to evolve the theoretical framework for my PhD, I came home with a long list of issues that I needed to better integrate into my framework, as well as an equally long and broad reading list. These were particularly in relation to gender issues and the principles of diversification out of poverty, a reflection of the broad scope of the conference. These ‘take home messages’ will contribute to a more robust and holistic framework for implementation of my research in East Africa. Thus, the conference has reinvigorated my drive and purpose and fostered a good deal of hope for my potential contribution to the discipline and the rural poor.
Secondly, I was left with a strong sence of community. The highlight of the conference for me was the networking potential the conference provided. In particular, the invitation of scholars was of huge benefit, where I was able to both bounce ideas and gain motivation from the many students and researchers invited by the Crawford fund. Even as the conference put in no uncertain terms the huge issues to be faced now and over the coming decades, I went home with a renewed enthusiasm through the ideas and work of the peers I was able to network with. I can only hope to foster these friendships as we together move our careers in pursuit of a more food secure world. The ongoing work of the Crawford fund, as well as the blossoming of RAID provides the stepping stones for young agricultural scientists to join and fortify the development community in pursuit of our common goal, and it was great to see this coordination in the flesh. On finishing, I am very grateful to the Crawford fund for the opportunity to attend, listen and network with such a fantastic group of people.