Our Conference Scholar Activities and Reflections

August 30, 2019

Fifty-one scholarship winners from universities and organisations across Australia descended on the nation’s capital to attend our annual conference in August, and significantly, to take part in two half-days of activities designed especially to introduce them to the interesting opportunities and rewarding experiences awaiting them should they choose a career pathway in international agricultural development.

The scholar activities included presentations by highly-esteemed local, national and international speakers from the government, research, non-profit, volunteer, corporate and media sectors including Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics; Dr Aditi Mukherji, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Research Institute; and journalists Lisa Cornish, Australian correspondent for Devex and Mike Foley, National Reporter, Australian Community Media (formerly Rural Press).

As part of day two of activities, our scholars heard from Prof Andrew Campbell about the work of ACIAR and the opportunities it offers graduates.

An integral part of the event sees each scholar paired with a dedicated and experienced mentor to help them make relevant connections and learn about experiences available which may benefit their research and career. The feedback we receive each year indicates that this scholar-mentor linkage is a major reason for the success of the conference scholar program.

Our NT scholars Paul Armstrong and Meg Humphrys “in the big house” with Maddison Clonan, former scholar and RAID State Representative of the Year 2019!

We look forward to presenting our scholars’ reflections over the coming weeks, but we have a few teasers to share with you already:

“It was a fantastic experience and I hope to be able to attend as a mentor in the future to contribute to this great event.” – Wesley Moss, WA scholar.

The events gave the opportunity to speak honestly with other ‘early career’ individuals which allowed for true information sharing about the challenges and benefits of international research.” – Olivia Woodiwiss, TAS scholar. 

“The ability to be able to speak with clarity and undertake in depth conversations with a variety of audiences was demonstrated, providing me with the drive to partake in such events in the future, leave my comfort zone and become a more rounded and inquisitive individual.” – John Humphrey, RMIT scholar.

University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor Chris Ford with SA scholars Dr Joshua Philp and Natasha Hallett. Via Twitter.


My entire experience as a Crawford Fund scholar was eye-opening and profoundly positive. The opportunity to hear from and then speak to such a variety of people about the work being done in their field, was an aspect of the Conference that stood out as uniquely insightful and a gratifying opportunity.” – Lucy Noble, NSW scholar.

As we regroup, evaluate and prepare for the Crawford Fund Annual Conference 2020, we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to everyone involved in the conference scholar program.

Plant Health Australia’s scholar and project officer Joanne Lee with her mentor Hon Associate Professor Helen Scott-Orr, Australia’s inaugural Inspector-General of Biosecurity,and the Crawford Fund NSW’s Committee’s State Coordinator. Via Twitter.

Thank you to our mentors. Each year we seek expressions of interest from our network and we are always inundated with eager volunteers. We are grateful for the time and effort each mentor puts into the process, and the support and guidance delivered to our next gen who represent the future in international agricultural development.

Thank you to our wonderful scholars for the way they approached the whole experience, interacted during all activities and seized the opportunities presented to them. This year particularly, we welcomed a greater social media involvement of our scholar cohort which was fantastic.

Finally, thank you to our RAID Network team involved in the planning, running, presenting, mentoring and being so inspiring during the scholar activities. The engagement of students, with young graduates and early career researchers is developing more and more each year into a major drawcard for the conference.

The hardworking and enthusiastic RAID team – including President Jack Hetherington (3rd from right) and our conference Keynote Listeners Rebecca Cotton (4th from right) and Madaline Healey (far right). Via Twitter.