Vale Alex Buchanan

November 15, 2022

The Crawford Fund family is saddened to learn of the passing on October 25th 2022  of Robert Alexander (Alex) Buchanan, FTSE, BAgrSc (NZ), MSs (Iowa), PhD (London) who was the Executive Director of the Crawford Fund from 1995 -1999.

In the announcement of Alex’s appointment by then chair of the Crawford Fund, The Rt Hon Doug Anthony, it was noted, “Council and board members who unanimously recommended this appointment are delighted that such an experienced and capable person as Alex Buchanan should have accepted this responsibility.”

Alex had previously served as the Coordinator of our then Victorian Committee and took over the duties as Executive Director on the retirement of the Fund’s inaugural Executive Director, Emeritus Professor Derek Tribe who at the time noted “I could not imagine a person better suited by personality or experience to hold this position.”

After a distinguished career in the dairy industry and CSIRO, Alex achieved spectacular success in promoting cooperation between applied scientists in SE Asia under the umbrella of the ASEAN-Australia Economic Cooperation Program. After two years at the Institute for Food Research and Product Development, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, he spent over a decade in Kuala Lumpur where he was responsible for coordinating ASEAN’s highly successful Protein Project, Food Handling Project, Food Waste Materials Project and Food Technology R&D project.

In 2003, Alex received the Australian Government’s Centenary Medal ‘for service to Australian society in food science and technology’. He then received the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009 for service to food science and technology, particularly through research supporting aid programs in the South-East Asia region, and to the community. From a report on his honour, it was noted that his research led to improvements in food production to support developing nations and emergency relief activities

Among Alex’s accomplishments were the development of the Australian milk biscuit, a high-protein biscuit used by the Australian government and many Rotary clubs for emergency food aid, and the creation of affordable, nutritionally balanced infant food for health centres in Thailand. Alex also helped implement the first successful cooperative food research projects between Australia and the Association of South-East Asian Nations.

A devoted Rotarian, Buchanan helped to manage Rotary’s Royce and Jean Abbey Endowment Fund and had been awarded the 2008–09 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award. The award was created to honour outstanding former foundation program participants whose extraordinary service to humanity and professional achievements exemplify the Rotary ideal of ‘service above self’.

A report by Iowa State University on Alex’s work on nutrition can be found here.

Our condolences go out to Alex’s family.