Travel or not – here they come!

July 12, 2021


We all know that international travel may not be possible for a while, but we are still pleased to have had a great crop of 2021 student award applications and to announce this year’s awardees.

As part of our suite of NextGen programs to support and encourage young people in studies, careers and volunteering in international agricultural research and development, Student Awards applications were considered by State and Territory Committees. Ten talented students will get a deep dive into international agricultural research and development. Some will do it from Australia, and some will wait to do so in-country when travel can comply with DFAT travel advice for health and safety purposes.

This year, we have eight females and two males coming from Charles Sturt University, University of New England, University of Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast, Griffith University, Adelaide University and ANU. They will be carrying out research across a diverse range of topics, focused in Laos, Fiji, Samoa, Uruguay, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brazil, Nepal and Myanmar.

Once again collaboration is key to the awards and they will be connecting with many overseas universities and Australian organisations including the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (3 awards), Grains Research and Development Corporation (2 awards), International Maize and the Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Our sincere thanks to all the university supervisors and project leaders, at home and overseas, who make it possible for our awards to take place.

We look forward to sharing the stories of awardees’ experiences and wish them well with their studies.

Congratulations to our 2021 Student Award Recipients!


Lauren Stoot, Charles Sturt University
Location/Focus: Laos
Research: Delta Flows: The role that delta’s play in sustaining basin-scale fisheries
Other Collaborating Institutions: National University of Laos, Research Institute for Aquaculture No 2 Vietnam, Fauna and Flora International and Department of Fisheries Myanmar and Institute for Water Education.

Amy Bates, Graham Centre, Charles Sturt University
Location/Focus: Fiji and Samoa
Research: Improving small ruminant production and supply
Other Collaborating Institutions: ACIAR, Ministry of Agriculture Fiji, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Samoa, the University of the South Pacific, and University of New England
NB: Extra congrats to Amy who has also received an inaugural NSW Committee internship with NSW DPI at Cowra Research Station


Sabrina Morrison, University of Queensland
Location/Focus: Uruguay
Research: Rapid discovery and utilisation of novel disease resistance in barley
Other Collaborating Institutions: GRDC, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria

Yichen Kang, University of Queensland
Location/Focus: Mexico
Research: Designing roots to enhance durum wheat yield
Other Collaborating Institutions: CIMMYT, GRDC

Trinh Huynh, University of the Sunshine Coast
Location: Vietnam
Research: Building an effective forest biosecurity network in SE Asia
Other Collaborating Institutions: ACIAR, Forest Science Institute of Central Highlands and South of Central, Vietnam

Rafaela Barbosa de Andrade Aragao, Griffith University
Location: Brazil
Research: The role of information in deforestation

South Australia

Nicola McGunnigle, University of Adelaide
Location: Nepal
Research: Enhancing Livelihoods from Improved Forest Management in Nepal.
Collaborating Institutions: ACIAR, Forest Action Nepal

Chitpasong Kousonsavath, The Centre for Global Food and Resources, The University of Adelaide
Location: Laos
Research: A comparative study of consumers’ organic food purchasing behaviour in Laos and Australia
Collaborating Institutions: National University of Laos


Nicholas Metherall, ANU
Location: Fiji
Research: Measurement, reporting and verification of agricultural landscapes using GIS and remote sensing
Collaborating Institutions: University of the South Pacific