Science for Food Security: First NextGen event for 2022

January 19, 2022

We are so pleased to once again be presenting a NextGen panel to some of the brightest young minds in Australia as part of the CSIRO Vacation Scholarship Program, to highlight that a career in agriculture can deliver global, professional and personal impacts.

This live interactive Crawford Fund panel and Q&A event on Thursday 27 January features passionate ag scientists highlighting their work in agriculture in developing countries and Australia, its benefits to Australian ag and its impact for our neighbours and for them. They will share their experiences exploring countries and cultures while having a rewarding career and making a difference.

The CSIRO Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship Program in Agriculture and Food offers ‘high achieving and promising undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate with leading CSIRO scientists. Students work on a real world project and expand their skills and knowledge while exploring ways to solve a real world problem’.

“This will be the first NextGen event for 2022 as part of our suite of activities aimed at encouraging passionate next generation ‘NextGen’ Australians in their study, careers and volunteering for food and nutrition security,” said Cathy Reade, Director of Outreach and manager of the Crawford Fund’s NextGen program, who will moderate the event.

The event speakers are working in a variety of research areas across livestock, crops and digital ag:

Dr Di Mayberry is a Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO Agriculture and Food and started her research career with a CSIRO summer studentship in 2002/03. She completed a BSc with honours in agriculture at the University of WA, followed by a PhD in ruminant nutrition. She spent 10 months volunteering in the Philippines before doing a postdoc at the University of Queensland and joined CSIRO in 2013. Di is a former Crawford Fund conference scholar and a founding member of the Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) Network. Di combines her background in ruminant nutrition with systems modelling approaches to improve the long-term viability of livestock production systems in Australia and developing countries and she has worked on sheep, beef and dairy production systems in Australia, Indonesia, China, Myanmar, India and Tanzania.

Dr Lee Hickey is Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Crop Science in the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at UQ. Lee is a member of the Crawford Fund Qld Committee and former Crawford Fund conference scholar. Lee leads an innovative team conducting discovery and applied research on wheat and barley. This includes understanding the genetics of key traits, plus the development of novel technologies to assist plant breeders. He has a strong interest in the integration of leading-edge breeding technologies, such as ‘speed breeding’ with genomic selection and genome editing. His advice for speed breeding crops is sought internationally and the technology is fast-tracking development of improved crop varieties for farmers. 

Sam Coggins has a degree in soil science, won the Sydney University Convocation Medal and received a Crawford Fund Student Award and CSIRO Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship during his undergrad degree. He’s now doing an interdisciplinary PhD aiming to help alleviate climate risks for farmers abroad and at home. 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. Sam was 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 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation digital project.