Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Capacity building
IN 2007, in the final year of her Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England, Hollie Webster undertook an agronomic honours project. The project aimed to validate the integrated weed management strategy of using more competitive crops in the rotation. To achieve this, the genetic and environmental causes of variation in the competitive growth habits of wheat cultivars were investigated. Field trials were required and to fund these Hollie applied for and was awarded a Grains Industry Undergraduate Honours Scholarship. While receiving the financial backing enabled Hollie to run her trials, an even greater reward was the recognition of her desire to make a contribution to sustainable agriculture. "Coming from a broadacre farm and a family with strong interest in R&D, I was keen for a career in agricultural research," Hollie says. "Receiving this scholarship from the GRDC was extremely important in cementing my commitment to agriculture at a time when many of my contemporaries were turning to agribusiness or natural resource management in the mining industry." On graduating in 2008, the experience gained from running her own research project as an undergraduate provided Hollie with a choice of job opportunities. She selected a role with a private agricultural research organisation working on conventional crop breeding projects. However, she was drawn back to study in 2010, commencing a PhD in wheat molecular biology at the WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre located at Murdoch University. "I decided to return to research to improve as a crop scientist and started to focus my career on biotechnology- based crop improvement." Under the supervision of Professor Rudi Appels and Dr John Fosu-Nyarko, Hollie's PhD project, titled 'Genes and genetic factors underpinning drought response in wheat', aims to further investigate evidence produced from studies conducted by CSIRO scientist Dr Rudy Dolpherus. These suggested the IVR1 gene in wheat has the capacity to confer tolerance to water stress in wheat during head development. To help support her work, Hollie successfully applied to the GRDC for a Grains Industry Research Scholarship. "Having my research validated by the GRDC in this capacity continues to be important to my sense of being able to make a meaningful contribution to agricultural innovation. It will help me purchase laboratory materials and lease glasshouse facilities, items fundamental to the outcomes of my research." □ GRDC Research Code UHS127 More information: Merrilyn Baulman, GRDC coordinator capacity building, 02 6166 4500, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.grdc.com.au/UHS127 5 CAPACITY BUILDING GROUND COVER INDUSTRY ATTRACTION A sense of worth A scholarship helped cement Hollie Webster's commitment to agricultural research Grains Industry Undergraduate Scholarship What A one-year scholarship for undergraduates undertaking honours. Value $9000 tax-free stipend, plus up to $1000 (ex GST) for project operating expenses. Closing date Last Wednesday in October each year Details www.grdc.com.au/UHS Over the past 12 years, many PICSE students like Jason have changed their aspirations and are now studying agricultural science or working in primary industries or research institutions. The national evaluation of the Year 11 and 12 camps by QualDATA (2010) reported that the Industry Placement Scholarship (IPS) program (including camps) was highly successful in confirming student interest in science and primary industries, with 22 per cent indicating they had not previously been interested in careers in these areas but were now interested. It identified that 87 per cent of the IPS program participants said that their view of the importance of primary industries had changed. There was a large increase in the number of students looking ahead to undertake postgraduate studies as a result of their involvement in the program. PICSE links with students are maintained beyond the camps and industry placement programs. Tracking of students indicates high levels of success during their university studies and good employment prospects for graduates. Some industries sustain their connection with PICSE students, providing holiday employment during university, which further orients the students to the workplace they may subsequently join. Industry partners are consistently impressed with the quality of the students and the opportunity to communicate with them at critical career decision points. PICSE partner industries contribute to activities in accordance with clearly defined strategies that are proven to generate understanding of key contemporary primary industry issues. □ GRDC Research Code UT00019 More information: Associate Professor David Russell, national director, PICSE, 0438 304 935, email@example.com, www.picse.net; www.grdc.com.au/UT00019 Grains Industry Undergraduate Scholarship recipient Hollie Webster with her PhD supervisors Professor Rudi Appels (left) and Dr John Fosu-Nyarko (centre).
GC Supplement - Farm business management
GC Supplement - Biosecurity