Proudly announcing our 2019 Student Award Recipients!

May 10, 2019

2018 Awardee Thomas Noble doing fieldwork for his PhD in Myanmar

Nominations have closed, fantastic applications have been considered, and thanks to the dedication and support of our State and Territory Committees, 22 successful students from around Australia will soon experience international agricultural research and development first hand.

As part of our efforts to support and encourage young people in studies, careers and volunteering in international agricultural research and development, our Student Awards allow awardees to include a visit to a developing country project of relevance to their studies and gain valuable international agricultural research experience and expertise.

Over the next year or so, the 22 successful Student Award recipients (13 females and 9 males) will travel to their host countries to research and explore their chosen topic areas, and we will be presenting their experiences on their return.

We are particularly pleased to see such a broad range of institutions, sectors and specialties covered again this year. Many of this year’s awardees are connecting their research to an existing Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project, while some others are placed with our global partners including the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

The thirteen countries to be included are Nepal, India, Indonesia, Samoa, Lao PDR, Kenya, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Mexico, Myanmar, Vietnam and Mongolia.

Since July last year, we have been celebrating the placements of our 2018 Student Award cohort through their reflections which highlight what a fantastic initiative and opportunity these awards present for the next generation of agricultural researchers.

We look forward to sharing news of their research and experiences in the coming year and wish them well with their studies.

Congratulations to our 2019 Student Award Recipients!

Australian Capital Territory

Nadeem Akmal, University of Canberra
Location: Nepal
Research: Contribution of Information Communication Technologies in smart practices of agriculture, climate smart agriculture.
Institute: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

New South Wales

Jori Bremer, University of New England
Location: Indonesia
Research: Modelling environmental impacts of cattle grazing in oil palm plantations
Project ID: LPS/2015/048 (ACIAR) – Improving smallholder beef supply and livelihoods through palm-cattle system integration in Indonesia (PalmCow)
Institute: Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development, Indonesian Centre for Animal Research and Development 

Charles Callaghan, Charles Sturt University
Location: Samoa
Research: What is the economic feasibility of small holder sheep production in Samoa?
Project ID: LS/2017/033 (ACIAR) – Improving small ruminant production and supply in Fiji and Samoa
Institute: Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Animal Production and Health Division

William Davies, Charles Sturt University
Location: Samoa
Research: How adopting a value chain approach can identify the existing challenges facing the Samoan sheep meat sector
Project ID: LS/2017/033 (ACIAR) – Improving small ruminant production and supply in Fiji and Samoa
Institute: ACIAR 

Nina Matsumoto, University of Sydney
Location: Lao PDR
Research: Zoonotic and high-impact production animal diseases in Laos: socioeconomic impact and epidemiology at the human-animal interface
Project ID: AH/2012/067 (ACIAR) – Enhancing transboundary livestock disease risk management in Lao PDR
Institute: ACIAR

Rebecca Owen, Charles Sturt University
Location: Samoa
Research: Prevalence of gastro-intestinal helminth parasites of sheep, cattle, pigs and dogs in Samoa
Project ID: LS/2017/033 (ACIAR) – Improving small ruminant production and supply in Fiji and Samoa
Institute: Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Animal Production and Health Division

Maxine Williams
Location: Indonesia
Research: The impact of smallholder coffee production on childhood nutrition. Contextual dynamics of child stunting, food security and childhood malnutrition in Toraja, Indonesia
Institute: Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute

Northern Territory

Jane Ray, University of Queensland
Location: Indonesia
Research: Identification and management of bacterial wilt diseases in banana. Strengthening the banana industry diagnostic capacity.
Institute: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland and University of Costa Rica


Rebekah Ash, University of Queensland
Location: Lao PDR
Research: Cassava disease screening: evaluation of diverse CIAT germplasm collection for resistance to witch’s broom.
Project ID: AGB/2018/172  (ACIAR) – Establishing sustainable solutions to cassava diseases in mainland Southeast Asia
Institute: The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture 

Bianca Das, University of Queensland
Location: Kenya
Research: Increasing phosphorus efficiency in tropical cropping systems. Long term field trials in Western Kenya (Climate smart soils; soil organic carbon sequestration potentials in tropical soils)
Institute: The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture

Luke Dieters, University of Queensland
Location: Lao PDR
Research: Silage production using stems/leaves of Cassava and Broom Grass, using Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), to assist with breakdown of anti-nutritive properties
Project ID: FST/2012/041 (ACIAR) – Teak-based agroforestry systems to enhance and diversify smallholder livelihoods in Luang Prabang province of Lao PDR
Institute: Northern Agriculture and Forestry College, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

Kazbek Dyussembayev, Griffith University
Location: India
Research: Evaluating molecular probes for the detection of Ascochyta Blight disease and understanding pre-breeding program for the development of disease resistant cultivars of chickpea (GRDC)
Institute: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

Vithya Krishnan, University of Queensland
Location: Philippines
Research: Improving seedling quality of frequently planted tree species in the Philippines
Project ID: ASEM/2016/103 (ACIAR) – Enhancing livelihoods through Forest and Landscape Restoration
Institute: Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines

Valentin Thepot, University of the Sunshine Coast
Location: Cambodia
Research: Early life dietary preference of Siganus gutiatus and larval stocking density effects on growth and survival of the fish in phyto/ zooplankton rich ponds
Project ID: FIS/2016/130 (ACIAR) – Accelerating the development of finfish mariculture in Cambodia through south-south research cooperation with Indonesia
Institute: The Research Institute for Coastal Aquaculture and Fisheries Extension, Barru, Indonesia

South Australia

Manithaythip Thephavanh, University of Adelaide
Location: Lao PDR
Research: Engaging youth in agricultural entrepreneurship in Laos
Project ID: ASEM/2014/052 (ACIAR) – Smallholder farmer decision-making and technology adoption in southern Lao PDR
Institute: Lao Ministry of Agriculture National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute


Oliver Gales, University of Tasmania
Location: Timor-Leste
Research: Investigation of the development of commercial vegetable and fruit production in Timor-Leste
Institute: The Crawford Fund (Tas) and Market Development Facility Timor Leste

Anna Mackintosh, University of Tasmania
Location: Timor-Leste
Research: Improving maternal and child nutrition through agriculture: designing, implementing and monitoring impactful projects
Institute: Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries


Jesse Beasley, University of Melbourne
Location: Mexico
Research: A Global Wheat Breeding Partnership to Develop Iron and Zinc Biofortified Bread Wheat, linking University of Melbourne and CIMMYT Wheat Biofortification Programs
Institute: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Cassandra Davitt, University of Melbourne
Location: Mongolia
Research: Are Bankhar dogs a reservoir (or sentinel) host for canine vector borne diseases in Mongolia?
Project ID: 1814429
Institute: Mongolian University of Life Sciences

Peter Richardson, University of Melbourne
Location: Myanmar
Research: Improving livestock production through research for development in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar
Project ID: LH/2014/056 (ACIAR) – Improving Farmer Livelihoods by Developing Market Orientated Small Ruminant Production Systems in Myanmar
Institute: University of Veterinary Science, Myanmar

Lily Tran, La Trobe University
Location: Vietnam
Research: Real time field based molecular detection of Fasciola spp. in low resource settings, Ecological control of Liver Flukes: defining the local situations and training in ecological tools and concepts
Institute: National Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Vietnam; Department of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Western Australia

Daniel Waterhouse, Murdoch Australia
Location: Myanmar
Research: The Potential of Insects as a Sustainable Feed Option for the Aquaculture, Pork and Poultry Sectors in Myanmar
Institute: Spectrum – Sustainable Development Knowledge Network