AgCatalyst 2022: Science for Food Security – explore, have a rewarding career AND make a difference

November 16, 2022

The Crawford Fund’s NextGen Program is set to feature at CSIRO’s AgCatalyst 2022 event on 22 and 23 November at Luna Park in Sydney. The theme of AgCatalyst 2022 is “Facing the Future”, and it will showcase cutting edge research preparing Australia’s agriculture and food sectors for a challenging future; from building drought and climate resilience to meeting consumer demands for foods of the future.

We are presenting a panel of passionate young researchers highlighting their work in agriculture in developing countries and Australia, its benefits to Australian ag and its impact for our neighbours and for them. Our panel speakers are:

Dr Di Mayberry is a Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO Agriculture and Food and started her research career with a CSIRO summer studentship in 2002/03. She completed a BSc with honours in Agriculture at the University of WA, followed by a PhD in ruminant nutrition. She then spent 10 months volunteering in the Philippines, before doing a postdoc at the University of Queensland and joining CSIRO in 2013. Di is a former Crawford Fund conference scholar and a founding member of the Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) network. Di combines her background in ruminant nutrition with systems modelling approaches to improve the long-term viability of livestock production systems in Australia and developing countries. She has worked on sheep, beef and dairy production systems in Australia, Indonesia, China, Myanmar, India and Tanzania.

Jack Hetherington is a PhD Candidate with the University of Adelaide and CSIRO. He is passionate about all things related to sustainable and inclusive agri-value chains. Based at the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide, Jack worked on the ACIAR-funded ‘IndoDairy’ project, which aimed to improve the supply, competitiveness and livelihoods of 3,000 smallholder dairy chains in Indonesia. Prior to that, Jack completed the ACIAR Graduate Program and was involved in projects throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Jack was also involved in the RAID Network since 2015, including being President from 2017 to 2019. His PhD research, which is supported by the Fight Food Waste CRC and CSIRO, is looking at understanding and supporting the adoption of sustainable food loss and waste practices in the Australian dairy sector.

Eleanor Armati, also a former Crawford Fund Conference Scholar, is a PhD student in the Integrated Sustainability Analysis team at the University of Sydney following a Bachelor of Food and Agribusiness (First Class Honours). She received the Christian Rowe Thornett Stipend Scholarship, Agriculture and the Environment Faculty Merit Scholarship, Sydney Scholars Award and a New Colombo Plan Scholarship. Her work examines food security, resilience and the impacts of disasters on global food supply. It includes the exploration of the economic spillovers of Fusarium Wilt TR4 (Panama disease) on bananas in the Philippines and the impact of climate change on Australian food supply. Through the New Colombo Plan, she examined issues surrounding peat land and palm oil sustainability in Indonesia.

Cathy Reade, Director of Outreach at the Crawford Fund, will moderate the panel. Cathy is director for their annual conferences and other events; developed and manages the Fund’s Master Class in Communications for scientists in developing countries, and is passionate about the Fund’s NextGen suite of activities to encourage young Australians in their study, careers and volunteering for food and nutrition security. Cathy served on the Board of the World Vegetable Center and is currently on the Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics – both global research organisations for improving food and nutrition security.