Award in the 2022 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture

A project to speed up flowering in macadamias has won the 2022 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said Dr Stephanie Kerr, Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, was looking at ways to build resilience in the horticulture industry.

“Dr Kerr’s research is aiming to induce flowering in young macadamia plants, which can be used for speed breeding,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Macadamias are the only native Australian food to be used as a commercial food product internationally, but right now it can take up to 10 years for trees to flower, which slows down the process of breeding new cultivars.

“This research will make the horticulture industry quicker on its feet and more able to respond to new challenges like pests, diseases or climate.

“This kind of innovation and ingenuity is exactly what this award is about. Science, technology, and innovation are a big part of the answer to a more resilient Australian agriculture sector.

“I also want to thank the 11 other winners of the industry category awards.

“The range of projects submitted for the Minister’s Award was impressive and showed creative approaches to looking at industry issues.

“Dr Kerr’s project will now receive an additional $22,000 in funding, which will go towards testing her new techniques for flowering.

“I want to congratulate Dr Kerr and I look forward to the outcomes of her research.”

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Award winners:

·         There were 12 Science and Innovation Award category award recipients in 2022—each supported by a research and development corporation or industry organisation.

·         The awards are targeted at 18–35-year-old innovators, researchers, scientists and others with a commitment to the success of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

Here is a list of the 2022 round winners and their projects:

RecipientSponsorProject title
Mingkai JiangForest & Wood Products AustraliaCost-benefit analysis of soil amendment to increase carbon sequestration of Australia plantation trees.
Stephanie KerrHort InnovationEngineering elite tree crops cultivars.
Bobbie Lewis BaidaAustralian Wool InnovationScrotal thermoregulation of the ram: effects of heat stress on reproductive performance.
Xiaoqing LiCotton Research and Development CorporationTraceable cotton fibres.
Amy MossAustralian EggsA practical strategy to implement precision nutrition for layer hens via liquid mineral inclusion to drinking water.
Sonya MoyesAustralian Meat Processor CorporationImpact of residual glycogen on sensory attributes of Australian lamb.
Samantha SawyerWine AustraliaSniffing smoke taint – Sensing phenols in the vineyard and the winery.
Thomas SchmidtCSIRO Biosecurity digital innovationBuilding a leafminer genomic databank to track incursions and adaptation.
Lauren StaveleyAustralian Pork LimitedQualitative behaviour assessment to define worker attitude and labour disparity between confinement free and traditional farrowing crates.
Valentin ThépotFisheries Research and Development CorporationSeaweed as a natural feed supplement to boost growth and immunity in farmed crustaceans.
Ashiwin VadivelooAgriFutures AustraliaWastewater grown microalgae as a source of biofertilizer and bio-stimulant for emerging crops.
Jaco ZandbergGrains Research and Development CorporationSilencing the frost damage caused by ice nucleating bacteria in Australian fields.