News: 2018 Crawford Fund Fellowship training report, March 2019

With nominations now open for the 2019 Crawford Fund fellowship, it’s good to report on the 2018 awardee.

Mr Ha Tien Manh, Researcher at the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS), was awarded the prestigious Crawford Fund Fellowship in 2018. The Fellowship was established in 2002 with the generous support of Dr Brian Booth AM FTSE to provide further training to scientists in agriculture whose work shows significant potential.

Mr Manh’s fellowship followed his earlier training with the Fund in manufacturing composite panels, which related to Mr Manh’s involvement in ACIAR projects. It was good to have Mr Manh back in Australia again for further training at the Queensland Government’s Salisbury Research Facility , this time learning techniques for determining moisture gradient, key wood properties and mathematical modelling of moisture movement of Acacia mangium timber during drying using a solar kiln. .

Mr Manh developed a high level of expertise and knowledge in wood drying from Dr Adam Redman (senior research scientist, QLD DAF) and his colleagues at the research facility. The Crawford Fund Fellowship enabled Mr Manh to learn techniques to measure critical wood properties of model drying Acacia mangium timber which included training in a suite of software tools.

“Currently in Vietnam, Acacia mangium is one of the few popular plantation species and its wood, after kiln drying, is sold for 28 % more than un-dried wood. Solar kiln drying, a relatively new technology in Vietnam which incurs very little energy cost, could improve the profitability of small and medium enterprises by 25%,” Mr Manh said.

Dr Adam Redman, Mr Manh’s mentor, was very impressed with his work: “Mr Manh proved to be an exceptional young researcher. His ability to quickly learn now concepts and tasks were astounding. He is inquisitive and is eager to learn and push his science in new directions.

“The Crawford Fund training allowed me to develop a high level of expertise and knowledge in wood drying from Dr Adam Redman and his colleagues,” Mr Manh reflected.

The outcomes of the training provide Mr Manh with the necessary knowledge and tools to complete his PhD titled, ‘Effect of moisture gradient on defects during solar drying of Acacia mangium’ upon his return to the Vietnamese Academy of Forestry Sciences (VAFS).

Nominations are now invited for the 2019 Crawford Fund Fellowship – more details are on our website.  The closing date is 19 April 2019.