​Media Release

Backing science that backs innovation in agriculture

3 March 2015

Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, awarded grants totalling up to $250,000 to 11 of Australia’s best young researchers, innovators and scientists to progress research that will help increase productivity on farms and across rural industries.

“The Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry recognise the cream of Australia’s home-grown scientific talent and awards them each up to $22,000 in grant funding,” Minister Joyce said.

“On top of that, one grant recipient is selected to receive the Minister’s Award – for an extended research project. 

“I am pleased to announce that the 2015 Minister’s Award winner is Dr Alice Hayward, from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at the University of Queensland.

“Dr Hayward’s research project is to develop the world’s only publicly available draft genome for avocados – research that will open the door for the next generation of crop improvement.

“The depth of scientific research underway in our research institutions has a very practical application in addressing long-term challenges to increasing productivity for our primary industries – it’s inspiring.”

Other grants have been awarded to projects including:

  • reducing the time it takes to identify herbicide resistance in significant agricultural weeds from up to nine months to three weeks
  • developing an electronic shepherd that will analyse dog barks or noises associated with sheep in distress and alert the farmer when an attack by wild dogs is happening
  • computer modelling to help identify appropriate techniques to decrease the impact of bushfire smoke taint on wine flavours and quality
  • developing a diet for young female pigs to reduce lameness that can affect one in 30 pigs

"The rural Research and Development Corporations’ and industry organisations support for this grants programme is an investment in the future of Australian science and agriculture,” Minister Joyce said.

“The work sponsored here is critical to ensuring that our sophisticated agricultural industries thrive into the future and deliver better food and fibre to our nation and the world more productively and profitably.”

Minister Joyce presented the Science Awards at gala dinner as part of Australia’s pre-eminent agricultural and economic forecasting event—Outlook 2015. 


2015 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry recipients

Australian Grape Wine Authority award
Julie Culbert, SA

Australian Meat Processor Corporation award
Jessica Tan, SA

Australian Pork Limited award
Tracy Muller, QLD

Australian Wool Innovation award
Greg Falzon, NSW

CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship
Nadine Chapman, NSW

Dairy Australia
Jean Drayton, NSW

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation award
Emma Wilkie, NSW

Grains Research and Development Corporation award
Aaron Preston, NSW

Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited award
Alice Hayward, QLD

Meat & Livestock Australia award
Sarah Stewart, WA

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation award
Sonia Liu, NSW

More information about the Science and Innovat​ion Awards for Young People in Agriculture can be found here: agriculture.gov.au/abares/conferences-events/scienceawards.