Proudly announcing our 2024 Student Awardees!

July 4, 2024

Eighteen talented university students from around Australia have been awarded our highly sought after 2024 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 first-hand.

2023 Student Award recipient, Ella Lockley (centre front) with staff from the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa.

This year, our students come from an increasingly diverse number of universities, including the Australian National University, University of Canberra, University of New England, Western Sydney University, Charles Sturt University, University of Sydney, Charles Darwin University, University of Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, University of Queensland, University of South Australia, University of Tasmania and Monash University.

They will be carrying out research across a diverse range of topics focused in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal, the Philippines, Samoa, Laos, Kenya, Tahiti and Nigeria.

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.

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 are also so lucky that there is a strong network of organisations with which the students connect for their research. This year we wish to thank the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Agricultural Economics Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI); Health and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Vietnam; Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources; National Institute of Animal Sciences, Vietnam; Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Project, National Soil Science Research Center and Nepal Agricultural Research Council; Can Tho University; The University of Glasgow; Fijian Ministry of Fisheries (MoF); The Pacific Community Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (SPC); the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa; Rural Development Agency, Lao PDR; Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Blue Economy, Baringo County, Kenya and World Bank Climate Resilience Project; Tahiti Fish Aquaculture and French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) in Tahiti Island; Proximar Seafood in Oyama, Japan; Tongan Ministry of Fisheries; CIMMYT; IFPRI; Food for Education Foundation, Kenya; Menzies Institute for Medical Research; CSIRO; Samoan Farmers Association; and Bayero University.

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

Congratulations to our 2024 Student Award Recipients!

Australian Capital Territory

Mashrufah Khatun, Australian National University
Location/Focus: Bangladesh
Research: Does the feminisation of agricultural labour empower women? Investigating gender dynamics and cropping system inside rural smallholder households in Bangladesh
Other collaborating institutions: Agricultural Economics Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI).

Yen Le, Australian National University
Location/Focus: Vietnam
Research: Food Loss in the Pangasius Catfish Value Chain of the Mekong River Basin. ACIAR Project ID: CS/2020/209
Other collaborating institutions: Health and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Vietnam.

Faizan ul Hasan, University of Canberra
Location/Focus: Pakistan
Research: Upscaling of customised irrigation and climate advisory services through citizen science.
Other collaborating institutions: Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), (Project ID: ADPC-RSG-iCARE-006-2023).


New South Wales

Hong Viet Duong, University of New England
Location/Focus: Vietnam
Research: Understanding free-range beef cattle grazing behaviour: Northern Mountainous region of Vietnam. ACIAR Project ID: AGB/2020/189.
Other collaborating institutions: National Institute of Animal Sciences, Vietnam; Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vietnam.

Kamana Rayamajhi, Western Sydney University
Location/Focus: Nepal
Research: Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Canola through Leveraging C-terminally Encoded Peptides (CEPs) to Regulate Nitrogen Demand Signalling.
Other collaborating institutions: Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Project, National Soil Science Research Center and Nepal Agricultural Research Council.

Sarah Fraser, Charles Sturt University
Location/Focus: Vietnam
Research: Biochar influence of the nitrogen fixation process in Cowpeas. ACIAR Project ID: SLAM/2018/144.
Other collaborating institutions: Can Tho University.

Troy Laidlaw, University of Sydney
Location/Focus: Philippines
Research: Japanese encephalitis virus epidemiology in Central Luzon: Assessing the risks to livestock.
Other collaborating institutions: The University of Glasgow.


Northern Territory

Layla Hadden, Charles Darwin University
Location/Focus: Fiji
Research: Increasing knowledge and experience in tropical rock oyster and seaweed mariculture within coastal communities. ACIAR Project ID: FIS/2022/147
Other collaborating institutions: Fijian Ministry of Fisheries (MoF); The Pacific Community Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (SPC); Northern Territory Government, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade.


Queensland

Amalya Harding, University of Sunshine Coast
Location/Focus: Samoa
Research: Citrus value chains as mechanisms for dietary change and reduced risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases in Samoa. ACIAR Project ID: HORT/2019/165.
Other collaborating institutions: Scientific Research Organization of Samoa.

Francesca Earp, James Cook University
Location/Focus: Laos
Research: Capturing Change: Utilising photovoice for participatory monitoring and evaluation.
Other collaborating institutions: Rural Development Agency, Lao PDR.

Geoffrey Wanjiku, University of Queensland
Location/Focus: Kenya
Research: Farmer perspectives on the motivators and barriers affecting their uptake of climate-smart technologies
Other collaborating institutions: Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Blue Economy, Baringo County, Kenya and World Bank Climate Resilience Project (CRP2022-24).

Karthiga Kumanan, James Cook University
Location/Focus: Tahiti and Japan
Research: Advancements in understanding Tenacibaculosis and sustainable seafood production.
Other collaborating institutions: Tahiti Fish Aquaculture and French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) in Tahiti Island and Proximar Seafood in Oyama, Japan.

Lucy Southworth, James Cook University
Location/Focus: Tonga
Research: Assessing temporal shifts in reef fish landings and nutritional value of catches in a co-managed reef-fishery. ACIAR Project: The relative contribution of gleaning to Tonga’s inshore fishery.
Other collaborating institutions: Tongan Ministry of Fisheries.


South Australia

Ranjita Sapjoka, University of South Australia
Location/Focus:
Research: Transforming smallholder food systems in the Eastern Gangetic Plain. ACIAR Project ID: WAC/2020/148.
Other collaborating institutions: CIMMYT and IFPRI.


Tasmania

Nicodemus Masila, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Kenya
Research: Leveraging Sustainable Local Food Procurement to Support Healthy School Meal Provision among the Urban Poor in Kenya
Other collaborating institutions: Food for Education Foundation, Kenya and Menzies Institute for Medical Research.

Bharath Dinakaran, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Vietnam
Research: Project Title: Integrating smallholder households and farm production systems into commercial beef supply chains in Vietnam. ACIAR Project ID AGB/2020/189
Other collaborating institutions: National Institute Of Animal Sciences, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Sarah Fulton, University of Tasmania
Location/Focus: Samoa
Research: Pacific resilient farming systems for climate change adaption and improved resource-use efficiency. ACIAR Project ID SLAM/2020/139.
Other collaborating institutions: CSIRO, Samoan Farmers Association and others.


Victoria

Luke O’Regan, Monash University
Location/Focus: Nigeria
Research: Increasing yield and water use efficiency of African sorghum.
Other collaborating institutions: Bayero University.