Drum roll please…proudly announcing our 2023 student awardees

June 27, 2023

Anna McIntosh, who is a Keynote Listener at our 2023 Conference, with the next generation of farmers during a field trip to Viqueque in Timor-Leste, part of her Student Award experience.

Seventeen talented university students from around Australia have been awarded our highly sought after 2023 Student Awards. The Student Awards, offered by our State and Territory Committees, are part of our NextGen program to support and encourage young people in studies, careers and volunteering in international agricultural research and development. The successful applicants have the opportunity to experience international agricultural research and development firsthand.

This year, our students come from the Australian National University, Southern Cross University, University of Wollongong, Charles Sturt University, University of the Sunshine Coast, the University of Queensland, Griffith University, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, and the University of Western Australia.  They will be carrying out research across a diverse range of topics focused in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor Leste, and Thailand.

These awards not only allow students to travel overseas and experience different cultures and research environments, they also present opportunities for collaborating and networking. These awards largely exist because of connections between Australian researchers and organisations with their counterparts globally.

Students in this cohort will connect with institutions including the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; NSW Department of Primary Industries; Navajagriti Farmers’ Cooperative; the International Rice Research Institute; the Fijian Ministry of Fisheries; The Pacific Community Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems; WorldFish; Alter Trade Timor; Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Timor-Leste; WorldVeg, Taiwan; GRDC-DAF National Mungbean Improvement Program; Solomon Islands Biosecurity Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock; Jeju International University; ICRISAT; Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Centex Shrimp, Mahidol University; Center for Research and Development in Drylands; International Livestock Research Institute; Bogor Agricultural University; CSIRO Health and Biosecurity and the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

Thank you once again to all the university supervisors and project leaders at home and at collaborating institutions overseas, who make it possible for these awards to take place.

We look forward to sharing the experiences of our awardees with you, and we wish them well in their studies.

Congratulations to our 2023 Student Award Recipients!

Australian Capital Territory

Ebtihal Mohamed, Australian National University
Location/Focus: International, Netherlands.
Research: Developing Brassica carinata as a biofuel crop (attending the International Conference on Alternative Fuels and Biofuels ICAFB).
Other collaborating institutions: NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Manita Raut, Australian National University
Location/Focus: Nepal
Research: Irrigation technology adoption: water use and practices by marginal and tenant farmers
Other collaborating institutions: Navajagriti Farmers’ Cooperative. Manita is also supported by a John Allwright Fellowship generously funded by ACIAR.

Su Su San, Australian National University
Location/Focus: Cambodia
Research: Adoption and welfare impacts of climate smart agricultural technologies
Other collaborating institutions: International Rice Research Institute as part of a joint project “Inclusive Sustainable Rice Landscapes in Cambodia.”

Northern Territory

Leif Emberg, Southern Cross University & the NT Government
Location/Focus: Fiji
Research: Establishing a successful and resilient indigenous based oyster and seaweed mariculture industry within tropical Australia and the Pacific.
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project FIS/2022/147 – Supporting resilient and equitable food systems: emerging oyster and seaweed mariculture enterprises in coastal communities in Fiji and northern Australia; The Fijian Ministry of Fisheries (MoF); and The Pacific Community Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (SPC).

New South Wales

Matthew Roscher, University of Wollongong
Location/Focus: Malaita Province, Solomon Islands
Research: Co-developing lessons with research partners relating to potential trade-offs and rebound effects from livelihood investments in small-scale fisheries.
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project FIS/2019/124 – Innovating fish-based livelihoods in the community economies of Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands; WorldFish.

Jorge Ramos, Charles Sturt University
Location/Focus: Timor-Leste
Research: Temperature Buffering Capacity of Shade Trees in Coffee Agroforestry Systems of Timor-Leste: An Assessment of Biophysical and Household Drivers.
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project CROP/2021/131 – Agricultural Innovations for Communities – Intensified and Diverse Farming Systems for Timor-Leste (AI-Com 2); Alter Trade Timor / MAF


Duc Bui, University of the Sunshine Coast
Location/Focus: Timor-Leste
Research: Assessing the Influence of Host Species and Environmental Factors on Growth and Heartwood Development of Sandalwood in Agroforestry Systems: A Case Study
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project CROP/2021/131 – Agricultural Innovations for Communities – Intensified and Diverse Farming Systems for Timor-Leste; MAF, Timor-Leste.

Shanice Van Haeften, University of Queensland
Location/Focus: Taiwan
Research: Application of high-throughput phenotyping platforms to understand the value of dynamic canopy traits for mungbean improvement
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project CROP/2019/144 – International Mungbean Improvement Network 2; WorldVeg, Taiwan; GRDC-DAF National Mungbean Improvement Program.

Leandra Fernandes, Griffith University
Location/Focus: Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands
Research: Understanding the gender dimensions in managing Spodoptera frugiperda or the Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.
Other collaborating institutions: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Timor-Leste) and the Solomon Islands Biosecurity Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Megan Moran, James Cook University
Location/Focus: South Korea
Research: Incorporating genome editing into the aquaculture industry in Australia
Other collaborating institutions: Jeju International University.

Trevor Volp, The University of Queensland
Location/Focus: India
Research: Developing sustainable pest management strategies for Indian and Australian pigeonpea farmers
Other collaborating institutions: ICRISAT Project – New approaches in host plant resistance for pest complex of pigeonpea crop; and QDAF Project – QDAF Pigeonpea Initiative: Developing pigeonpea as a profitable and sustainable summer pulse crop for Queensland.

Jeffrey Ling Min Than, James Cook University
Location/Focus: Thailand
Research: Collaborative effort and exchange of technical expertise on developing diagnostic tests to support aquaculture development.
Other collaborating institutions: Centex Shrimp, Mahidol University, Thailand.


Rebekah Ash, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Kenya, Ethiopia
Research: Exploring local construct of ‘resilience’ in the face of chronic uncertainty in the Drylands
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project LS/2022/144 – Resilience from below in East Africa’s drylands; Center for Research and Development in Drylands (CRDD); and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Ella McLennan, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Malaysia and Solomon Islands
Research: Identifying and supporting best-bet nature-based solutions in aquaculture in Malaysia and the Solomon Islands.
Other collaborating institutions: WorldFish (Malaysia)

Ella Lockley, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Samoa
Research: Enhanced fruit systems for Tonga and Samoa: Community based citrus production
Other collaborating institutions: ACIA Project HORT/2019/165 – Enhanced fruit systems for Tonga and Samoa (Phase 2): Community based citrus production

Emma Street, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Indonesia
Research: Gaining understanding of risks to biosecurity in Indonesian forestry
Other collaborating institutions: ACIAR Project FST/2018/179 – Managing risk in SE Asian forest biosecurity – supporting evidence-based standards for best practice; Centre for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management (CCROM) based at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

Western Australia

Lucas Harwood, University of Western Australia
Location/Focus: Fiji
Research: Quantifying the economic costs of Coptotermes gestroi infestations and management strategies on urban horticulture, commercial forestry, and sugarcane plantations.
Other collaborating institutions: CSIRO Health and Biosecurity and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.