July 9, 2020

National Science Week – ACT Event

Science for Food Security: Making a Global, Professional and Personal Difference

When: Wednesday, 19 August 11am – 12pm
How: Free and online
Register: Here to attend – either as an individual or a group
Download: Here’s a flyer to share: help spread the word!


Be inspired. Explore countries and cultures. Have a rewarding career AND make a difference. Interested? 

If you want to be motivated by the work of young ACT scientists or are looking for study,  career or volunteer opportunities delivering global, professional and personal impacts, join our free live interactive 60 minute panel and Q&A during National Science Week. Hear from a group of passionate scientists talking about their diverse and rewarding work in developing countries and how you can get involved too – whatever your age. 

“We want high school and university students and the general public to know about the impact of science in global food and nutrition security, and the broad range of study, career and volunteering pathways to get them on their way,” said Cathy Reade, Director of Outreach for the Crawford Fund and manager of their NextGen program. The Fund is an Australian NGO that engages Australians in training scientists in developing countries to improve food and nutrition security.

“Our NextGen program has been providing young and not-so-young Australians with awards, scholarships, volunteering and mentoring opportunities in developing countries to encourage their interest in related studies, careers and placements but we want more of them to know about the enormous impact they can have. It’s great to be able to spread the message during National Science Week,” she said.

The Fund is working with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) Network for this free online event on Wednesday, 19 August from 11am-12pm. Live chat and Q&A will be elements of the event.

The event is timed to provide the best opportunity for high school teachers to have their students attend as a group from the class room, but it will also interest university students working out where they want to take their science and members of the general public who want to be inspired, possibly volunteer overseas or with an interest in science related to food and nutrition security. It’s possible to register as individuals or schools can register full classes.

The Crawford Fund will be releasing free cross-curricular teaching materials at the event, focused on food and nutrition security. By signing up for the event, the schools will automatically be provided with access to the materials.

The speakers have all been using their science skills for a global impact in a variety of countries. They have landed in their careers through different journeys and are now working for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ACIAR, and the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and have all benefited from awards and scholarships to help get them to where they are, using their science skills for a global impact.

Award winning senior ABC journalist, Sarina Locke, will be our moderator. Sarina brings her own experience having reported on Australia’s international agricultural aid programs in Indonesia and East Timor and covered issues such as climate change, environmental stewardship, agri-business, international development and trade and biosecurity for the ABC and BBC.

Introducing our speakers:

Sam Coggins has a degree in soil science, won The Horizon Scholarship, a New Colombo Plan Scholarship, and a Crawford Fund Student Award. Sam became passionate about working with smallholders following an internship at the International Rice Research Institute and a semester in Sri Lanka during his undergrad ag science degree. Sam’s main interest is leveraging digital tools (apps) to support scaling of extension services in developing countries. Sam, with two friends, is further developing RiseHarvest, a smartphone app designed to help farmers in Myanmar use fertiliser more effectively. This social enterprise was selected from 800 teams from 160 countries in the international Thought for Food Challenge in 2018. Sam was then employed as a graduate at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and is now involved with his continuing work with digital tools for developing country farmers and on a large Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation digital project. He’s also doing an interdisciplinary PhD aiming to help alleviating climate risks for farmers abroad and at home. 

Bec Cotton is the President of the Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) Network, the Australia-based network which brings together young Australians with an interest in agriculture and international development. She was a Crawford Fund conference scholar from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in 2016 and was then lucky enough to land a job as a Graduate Research Officer at ACIAR in Canberra for two years, using her degree in sustainability and her honours work on improving agricultural extension. Bec spent three months in the Pacific Islands conducting research with the subsistence and smallholder farmers around organic agriculture. Bec also spent three months on a USC scholarship program working in Wyoming USA as a research assistant on a variety of biophysical and social science-based research projects followed by a further month working on an organic pollinators farm in California.

Laura Macfarlane-Berry is a veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in Canberra. She works in the Epidemiology and One Health Section as an epidemiologist or a “disease detective”. There she provides advice and analyses to support animal disease control and prevention such as a current project investigating antimicrobial resistance in egg chickens in Australia. Laura was a volunteer with the Australian Volunteer Program and Food and Agricultural Organization in Dhaka, Bangladesh where she worked on animal disease surveillance for emerging pandemic threats. She later worked with FAO on similar projects in Viet Nam and in Myanmar. Laura is waiting to travel for her Churchill Fellowship to investigate on-the-job applied veterinary epidemiology training programs which will involve travelling to Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. She is passionate about using epidemiology to improve animal and human health and support international trade.

Sam Coggins in the Philippines, Bec Cotton in India and Laura Macfarlane-Berry in Bangladesh are looking forward to highlighting rewarding global opportunities in international agriculture for development.

Come on, do something different!

Be entertained, hear the impact YOU can make and get involved.

Please register here to attend – either as an individual or as groups.  Follow the Crawford Fund’s social media channels @CrawfordFund and website www.crawfordfund.org for more info.

This initiative has been supported by Inspiring Australia as part of National Science Week.