Announcing the 2021 Crawford-in-Queensland International Engagement Award Winners

July 7, 2021

The Crawford Fund QLD Committee supports targeted training and mentoring of overseas scientists and extension officers by experienced Queensland counterparts working on similar agricultural research challenges. With the restrictions brought about by COVID-19, we are finding awardees using their initiative to develop ‘workaround’ strategies to enable them to progress their work.

This year, two International Engagement Awards are being made to postdoctoral research fellows at James Cook University (JCU) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

“While associated travel cannot be undertaken until after DFAT advice confirms it is safe to do so, the committee is pleased to be supporting training and mentoring in coffee and fisheries – industries of significance to both Queensland and neighbouring countries,” said Professor Bob Lawn, Honorary Coordinator of the Queensland Committee.

Professor Lawn said that he was particularly pleased with the ‘COVID-smart’ proposals put forward by the two International Engagement Awardees in the event that international travel is not possible within a reasonable time.

“Like some former awardees, the trainers have been innovative in designing ‘workarounds’ to enable their work to proceed despite COVID restrictions. We have had awardees planning to complete their collaborative activities entirely through online engagement with their overseas counterparts without the need for travel. In other instances, awardees have prepared alternative plans where, if it becomes necessary, their overseas collaborators will collect data, take samples or conduct training, with online support and guidance from partners in Australia,” said Bob.

We are pleased to announce the two 2021 winners for training and mentoring awards are:

Dr Vivekananda Mittahalli Byrareddy, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at USQ has worked in coffee research and development initiatives in Asia-Pacific and Easter African for about 15 years. He will conduct a training activity around enhancing smallholder coffee farmers’ capacity to cope with climate risks.  The training will focus on seasonal climate forecasting and innovative insurance solutions to climate risk management in Indonesia and will explore collaboration opportunities with world-leading commodity groups and coffee certification agencies.

Dr Patrick Smallhorn-West, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU will conduct workshops held with management groups, NGOs, government agencies and local resource owners and users from four Pacific countries on the current state of knowledge on locally managed marine areas as a fisheries management tools. The work is being conducted as part of a larger collaboration between JCU, WorldFish and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project, with contributions from WorldFish, the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems, JCU, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. In addition to the workshops, a range of related communication products are to be developed in Tongan, Pidgin, and English.