2014 Conference Travel Scholarship Recipients


Feeding The 9 Billion, Well

26-28 August 2014



Conference home

We received a strong response of high calibre applicants again this year for the 2014 Crawford Fund Conference Travel Scholarship for young agricultural scientists.

We are delighted to announce the 26 successful  applicants. They are listed below with a short biographical note and an indication about why they had hoped to attend:

Abu Abdullah
PhD student, Charles Darwin University
Abu has just completed a PhD in natural resource management at Charles Darwin University. His PhD thesis is an innovative livelihoods study in the fields of natural resource management, poverty eradication and climate change adaptation. Abu has been a Bangladesh government official since 2001. He worked in the riverine areas of northern Bangladesh where millions of people face periodic food shortages every year. The population of Bangladesh was 154 million in 2012. The country has made steady growth in food production however chronic food insecurity remains a challenge.

Rowan Alden
Student, Charles Sturt University
Rowan is a 3rd year Bachelor of Science (BSc) student at Charles Sturt University (CSU). She aims to commence Honours in 2015, followed by a PhD. This year she is completing an internship with the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation where she is increasing her understanding of pasture research. Rowan currently hold positions on the CSU Council, the CSU School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences board and the Student Consultative Committee for BSc. Rowan understands the importance of international research and will complete an exchange with Otago University and an internship with the University’s Centre for Sustainability in 2015. Rowan is greatly interested in the issue of food security and feels that this conference will help inform her of the research that is being conducted in this area.

Katherine Ashley
PhD student, University of Sydney
Katherine is a researcher interested in livestock development and food security. She am currently doing a PhD with the University of Sydney working with the Mekong Livestock Research group on ACIAR-funded livestock extension programs in Cambodia and Laos. Katherine is particularly interested in investigating livestock interventions as a means of improving income, health and education levels amongst smallholder livestock owners and their families and the role that agriculture plays in alleviating poverty. The 2014 Crawford Fund conference presents an exciting opportunity to participate in food security discussions and meet other young scientists working in similar fields.

Jessica Bogard
Student, University of Queensland
Jessica is a nutritionist and postgraduate research student at the School of Population Health at University of Queensland. Her research is looking at the contribution of fish to food and nutrition security in Bangladesh. Jessica is particularly interested in how agricultural systems can be evaluated more comprehensively, to include nutritional value, environmental sustainability and social impacts, in addition to traditional productivity and economic value measures. At the Conference she is hoping to learn more about ways health professionals and agricultural scientists can collaborate to address global food insecurity.

Brendan Brown
PhD student, University of Adelaide
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.

Temma Carruthers-Taylor
Student, Australian National University
After completing school in Canberra, Temma worked as a jillaroo in remote Wester Australia (Pilbara). It was during this time she gained a deep appreciation for the age and beauty of our earth. She pursued this interest through a degree in geology and soil science at the Australian National University, and by undertaking rice paddy soil research in Vietnam. During the research, she gained experience conducting research in a developing country and learned about more South East Asian culture, people and science. At the conference, Temma seeks to expand her knowledge of the practical side of agriculture and food efficiency challenges, as well as the ethical concerns in achieving a well-rounded understanding of agricultural systems.

Mardee Cassin
Student, University of Sydney
Mardee Cassin is a third year full time student at the University of Sydney, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Environmental Systems. She endeavours to continue her studies with an honours year in 2015. She is particularly interested in sustainable farming systems, especially in developing countries with a main focus on Asia, ignited by many previous visits, along with recognising it as the continent with largest population. She is therefore very much looking forward to hearing the perspectives of many esteemed environmentalists on the topic of “Feeding The 9 Billion, Well”, as well as conversing with those who share a similar passion.

Jade Chan
Student, University of Queensland
Jade is in her second year of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland. She planning to major in animal production. It was her interest in the role of agriculture in developing countries to improve the quality of living that prompted her to apply for the Crawford Fund Travel Scholarship.

Georgina Coggins
Student, University of Sydney
Georgina has always been involved in agriculture. Her father has a beef enterprise and her mother is a dairy farmer’s granddaughter. She was raised to see the importance of the land and the effect of drought and government policy on farmers. Georgina is passionate about the sustainability of agriculture. She also has a keen interest in the importance of agriculture to feed a growing population and in export markets. She hopes to pursue a career in the area of alleviating hunger in the developing world that is mindful of sustainable use of resources. She is undertaking a degree in Resource Economics to understand market demand and optimised resource allocation. She saw the Conference as an opportunity to further her understanding of current research and connect with like-minded individuals.

Julia de Bruyn
Masters student, University of Sydney
Julia is a veterinary science graduate from the University of Melbourne, currently working as a research assistant and Masters student on an ACIAR-funded project at the University of Sydney. This work is aiming to improve food and nutrition security in sub-Saharan Africa, through the introduction of Newcastle disease vaccination programs and cropping interventions. Julia’s focus is on the potential contributions of chicken and eggs to the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children. Julia is interested in the close ties between animals and human health in developing countries. She is looking forward to meeting other young researchers and learning from key players in the food security arena at the Conference.

Heather Feetham
Student, University of Adelaide
Heather is second year Bachelor of Agricultural Science student at The University of Adelaide. During her studies, she has developed an interest in international agricultural development, particularly the humanitarian aspects of food security. She has subsequently sought out opportunities to gain experience in this area. She was a member of the 2014 Ghana Study Tour, which was hosted by International Agriculture for Development. She is assisting with a project being conducted by International Agriculture for Development, titled ‘Australian Farmer Attitude to On-farm Risk Management and Insurance’. Heather is attending the Crawford Fund Conference to further her knowledge to apply to her studies and career.

Danielle Gale
PhD student, Curtin University
Danielle is a PhD student at Curtin University looking to quantify the carbon footprint of broadacre livestock production in Western Australia, and subsequently identify cost-effective strategies to reduce that footprint. Climate change, sustainability and agriculture have long been areas of interest to Danielle and she completed Science and Economic degrees with the goal of working in these fields. She has a particular interest in working with developing nations, having spent time spent in such countries as a child and as an adult. Her long-term goals involve working overseas.

Alison Hall
Dairy Industry Development and Extension Officer, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Alison works as a Dairy Industry Development and Extension Officer at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). Her role involves working closely with farmers, industry representatives, stakeholders and service providers, on a range of topics from pasture management and agronomy, to animal health and business management. In addition to Alison’s current roles in delivering extension programs and project management, she has developed a great interest in increasing her social research and extension and development capabilities, particularly in the context of international development projects. She hopes to be involved in developing a dairy focused international development project in the future for the TIA Dairy Centre.

Jenny Hanks
Researcher, University of Melbourne
Jenny works for the University of Melbourne and manages the ACIAR-funded project “Improving livelihoods of small-scale livestock producers in the Central Dry Zone through research on animal production and health in Myanmar”. She graduated from veterinarian science in 2011 and has worked in a mixed veterinary practice, and at ACIAR as a graduate research officer. She is studying for a Masters of Veterinary Public Health Management part-time and learning Burmese. Jenny sees the Crawford Fund Conference as an opportunity to meet and learn from like-minded people, which will assist her in the pursuit of a career in international agricultural research and development.

Tara Mackenzie
Student, University of Sunshine Coast
Tara recently completed an environmental science degree and is now completing an honours degree. In her undergraduate, she undertook two Special Research Projects, both related to postharvest horticulture and improving farmer livelihoods in the South Pacific. This experience had a significant impact on the direction of her career. Her honour’s topic is “Quantifying harvest losses – a comparative study of domestic-orientated horticultural supply chains of the South Pacific and Australia”. Her literature review covers the wider subject of food security. Tara’s research aims to identify inefficiencies of horticultural supply chains, particularly those driven by policy and technology.

James Manson
Student, La Trobe University
James is from Melbourne, although he has lived most of his life in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. After finishing high school there, he did a two year voluntary internship in agricultural development with an NGO called ECHO Asia. This experience created a deep passion in James to serve the poor through agriculture. In his studies in agriculture and international development at La Trobe University, he seeks to understand the many factors that affect food security. He is preparing himself to work with hill tribe farmers in Southeast Asia in the future.

Kirsty McCormack
Student, University of New England
Kirsty McCormack describes herself as a cowgirl in love with a cotton crop. She is 3rd year Rural Science student at the University of New England. She has a passion for cotton, beef, wool, sheep, dairy and every industry that she can attribute to feeding and clothing Australia. Her aim is to help re-brand, re-educate and re-invent the words genetic modification, by challenging consumer’s perception and myths, from a cloud of mystery to the food on everyone’s plate. She is interested in helping farmers grow more crop-per-drop, to help feed the future. She believes that we need to be educated about the challenges faced by agriculture and the economy in Australia. This conference gives Kirsty the opportunity to network and work with like-minded young people about what she is passionate about – feeding the world.

Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay
PhD student, Charles Sturt University
Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay (from India) is a food technologist by profession and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Her areas of interest include sensory sciences, technology R&D, process improvement and regulatory compliance; areas in which she has had hands-on experience while working for five years with global giants like Nestle and Whirlpool. Before commencing her PhD at CSU, she worked as a Food Scientist for the Asia Pacific region with Whirlpool Corporation. Her present research topic deals with eliciting sensory characterisation and consumer preferences for Australian desi chickpeas. This conference is an opportunity for Soumi to hear about recent developments in the food security field and understand ways she can contribute to society after she finishes her research. Attending this conference will also help her decide her future career direction and network with scholars and students from my discipline.

Aaron Preston
PhD student, Charles Sturt University
Aaron is a PhD student at Charles Sturt University investigating the genetic resistances to commercial herbicides of Australia’s most economically damaging crop weed (Lolium rigidum), and developing a novel approach to identify weeds for their management. In May 2014 he received funding from the Crawford Fund to attend the IRRI rice production course in Los Baños, Philippines. There, he was exposed to some of the differences and challenges of agriculture from around the world. He also had the opportunity to interact with farmers from the remote Ifugao rice terraces of Banaue and gained valuable insight into the difficulties they face. By interviewing farmers and researchers, he developed a great appreciation for the tremendous hurdle of communicating research from the laboratory to extension officers through to farmers and vice versa. He is attending the Crawford Fund conference to develop an understanding of ways he might contribute to alleviating some of these problems.

Zita Ritchie
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), Victoria
Zita is a Dairy Extension Officer in Warrnambool Victoria and is currently studying a Master of International Development. Currently, her role involves project development of an ACIAR project called IndoDairy which aims to support smallholder dairy farmers in Indonesia grow milk supply and improve milk quality. Zita has experience in rural development through her role as Australian Youth Ambassador working as an Agricultural Officer with the Kenya Red Cross Society on livelihood and food security projects. In her work with DEPI, she specialises in climate risk extension for the dairy industry and is experienced in group facilitation, extension and dairy farm business management.

We wish to thank the Gardiner Foundation for supporting Zita’s attendance.

Julia Smith
Development officer, Sheep industry, DAF WA
Julia’s biography will be available soon.

Lydia Turner
Social researcher, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Lydia is based in the Dairy Centre of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture where role as a social researcher crosses into other agricultural areas, including international research for development. This year she has become involved in the ACIAR project: Developing productive and profitable smallholder beef enterprises in Central Vietnam. Her PhD and post-doctoral research focused on dairy pasture agronomy. Lydia has developed a capacity in social research, and her interests include knowledge transfer, decision making and adoption processes.

Sarah van Bronswijk
Masters student, Australian National University
Sarah is currently undertaking a masters in international affairs at the Australian National University with the aim to work in international agricultural development. She studied languages and European studies at the University of Sydney and the Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, then entered the Australian agricultural industry working in livestock export RD&E. Seeing the work done in partnership with other countries on livestock export led to Sarah’s passion for food security and agricultural sustainability. Sarah is attending the Conference to tap into the passion of fellow attendees to do exactly as the Conference title says: to feed the 9 billion, well.

Amy Vos
Masters student, James Cook University
Amy is studying a masters in Natural Resource Management at James Cook University. She completed a bachelor’s degree (Interdisciplinary Studies in Sustainability) at the Australian National University and is also doing a Graduate Diploma of Education to further develop her skills in science communication. She personally and academically very interested in food production, particularly aspects of sustainability and small-scale rural and urban agriculture. She is also interested in the intersections between social and natural sciences, and the impacts that human environmental use and management have on the natural environment. Amy is excited to be attending the conference as it spans many of her areas of interest – agriculture, community development, sustainability and food security.

Annie Warren
Student, University of New England
Annie is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England. Her particular interest is research and development in agriculture as she believes they are the key to overcoming the challenges in food production that the world is facing. In the past year she has developed her interest in the agriculture industry through work experience with dairy cattle, beef grazing, wool production and poultry. She is keen to attend this year’s Parliamentary Conference to discover what leading people in the field are discussing about efficiency and food security.

Yi Zhou
University of Adelaide
After Yi completed his Master and PhD degree in 2013, he pursued a career in international agriculture research at The University of Adelaide. He has researched a wide range of topics including development of conservation cropping systems in Iraq, Syria and Jordan; soil biology analysis of Middle-eastern and Australian samples via genomic sequencing, and modelling technical efficiency of Indian farmers. He has a passion for writing scientific publications with fifteen papers published in prominent journals e.g. Functional Plant Biology, Environmental and Experimental Botany, Crop and Pasture Science and Crop Science. Attending Crawford fund 2014 conference will benefit Yi’s work in international agriculture research by providing an opportunity to communicate with leading scientists and young scholars.