Media Release

Applications open for the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards

25 August 2016

Australia’s young agricultural scientists, innovators and researchers are being invited to share their ideas for a chance to receive a share of $240,000 in grants.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry encouraged 18-35 year old innovators to undertake new and creative research to benefit Australia’s agricultural industries.

“Innovation is a key driver of productivity growth for Australian agriculture, which is a key pillar of our national economy,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australian agriculture is in a good position to benefit from the great opportunities offered by global food and fibre demand growth, and especially the demand for safe, high quality agricultural and food products.  But we need to continually develop and adopt innovative practices and products to capture those opportunities.

“Research and development is essential for this and we’re fortunate to have such an impressive pool of passionate young scientists and innovators whose ideas and research will shape the future of our agricultural industries.

“The Science and Innovation Award grants are designed to support early career researchers, scientists and other innovators in developing new approaches to industry issues and, in turn, making our agricultural industries more productive and more competitive.

“They also support the career pathways of the award recipients, and highlight the opportunities, innovation and technologies in modern agriculture.”

Minister Joyce pointed to the range of innovative projects that were successful in the 2016 awards including:

  • Maximising the benefits of high speed broadband for the red meat industry through real-time livestock tracking and remote sensors
  • New on-farm device for pathogen detection in aquaculture systems
  • Soil organic carbon sequestration using melanised root-associated fungi
  • Keeping salt out of wine—a novel genetic approach
  • Smart investment in detection dogs for post- border biosecurity
  • Mapping frost at the individual farm level for the Western Australian wheatbelt​
  • Development of fungal biocontrol agents to manage root-knot nematode in ginger
  • Investigating the potential of using drone technology to improve on-farm efficiency and management during lambing
  • Investigations into the prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in Australian dairy cattle.

“These projects were selected because they each make great improvements to the efficiency and profitability of their respective industries, which is why the government is pleased to back the awards each year,” he said.

Eleven industry award categories are available in the 2017 round, with each winner to receive a grant of up to $22,000 (including GST). One recipient of an industry category award will also receive the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Award, with additional project funding.

Since the Science and Innovation Awards commenced in 2001, more than 210 young researchers, innovators and scientists have shared in more than $3.2 million in grant funding for their projects.

Applications close on Friday 14 October 2016. The recipients of the awards will be publicly presented as part of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Outlook 2017 conference in Canberra.

The 2017 Science and Innovation Award partners are:

  • Australian Meat Processor Corporation
  • Australian Pork Ltd
  • Australian Wool Innovation
  • Cotton Research and Development Corporation
  • CSIRO Health and Biosecurity
  • Dairy Australia
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Meat & Livestock Australia
  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • Wine Australia.

For further information on the awards, and on how to apply, visit agriculture.gov.au/scienceawards​.​