Media Release

Recognising Australia's innovative young researchers

4 March 2014

Understanding the structure of crocodile skins for luxury goods, developing a portable spectrometer to determine water stress in wine grapes, determine the age of a fish and imagining a farm free from physical fences where livestock graze in response to electronic boundaries – these and many other ideas and have been given wings tonight.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has congratulated the winners of the 2014 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture and the Australian Biosecurity Awards.

Presenting the awards at a gala dinner tonight as part of the ABARES Outlook 2014 conference, Minister Joyce said the awards showcased the talents and ingenuity of our young scientists to the world.

“Since it started thirteen years ago, the Science and Innovation Awards have helped advance the careers of more than 190 young scientists, researchers and innovators,” Minister Joyce said.

“These awards show our appreciation by helping turn ideas into reality through funding.”

The Science and Innovation Awards provide recipients with grants of up to $22,000 to undertake a project exploring an emerging scientific issue or innovation over a 12 month period. One recipient receives an additional $22,000 for the Minister for Agriculture’s Award to pursue their research ideas.

Dr Alison McCarthy received the Minister’s Award this year for her work around the development of an integrated image sensing system for soil-water and nitrogen in cotton.

“Optimal cotton crops need a balance of both water and nitrogen and Dr McCarthy’s work will be valuable in helping improve monitoring and application of fertiliser and water for Australian cotton growers.”

The Australian Biosecurity Awards recognised those who have made a significant contribution towards the nation’s biosecurity, including the Seven Network’s Border Security, which was presented with the Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It’s a big job we’re undertaking and the biosecurity award winners are applauded for their significant contribution towards the protection of Australia’s enviable biosecurity status,” Minister Joyce said.

“I congratulate the 11 Science Award recipients for their commitment to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors and thank them for their work. I also congratulate the five winners of the Australian Biosecurity Awards.”

Recipients of the 2014 Science and Innovation Awards

Recipient of the Minister’s Award and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation Award
Alison McCarthy, QLD

Recipient of the CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship Award
Kelly Porter, VIC

Recipient of the Australian Wool Innovation Award
James Walker, QLD

Recipient of the Grains Research and Development Corporation Award
Jonathan Plett, NSW

Recipient of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Award
Rhiannon Moore, NT

Recipient of the Australian Meat Processor Corporation Award
Sandra Corbett, WA

Recipient of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation Award
Ramin Rafiei, WA

Recipient of the Dairy Australia Award
Jane Kelley, VIC

Recipient of the Meat & Livestock Australia Award
Zac Economou, NSW

Recipient of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Award
Danswell Starrs, ACT

Recipient of the Australian Pork Limited Award
Megan Verdon, VIC

Recipients of the 2014 Australian Biosecurity Awards

Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award
Border Security, Seven Network

Fertilizer Australia
Federation of Australian Wool Organisations
Tony Filippi of Mildura Fruit Company