Charles Sturt University students Ms Sunita Pandey and Ms Rebecca Owen left the Crawford Fund’s annual conference with a swag of new contacts, a broader view of climate change, and a fresh outlook on research.
The Graham Centre supported Ms Pandey and Ms Owen (pictured with other conference scholars and mentors) to attend the Conference held in August as part of the Fund’s scholarship program.
The students were paired with a mentor and given the opportunity to engage with keynote speakers, agricultural researchers and other young people who have worked in developing countries.
“The scholarship program opened networks with a range of experts and other researchers in our field,” they said.
“We especially loved initiating friendships with like-minded students and engaging in conversations about climate smart agriculture.
“We gained several great friends from all around the world, who we are sure we’ll meet again in the future, whether it be through work or travel.”
The students’ said they are grateful to the mentors for their time and advice throughout the conference.
The conference theme, Weathering the ‘Perfect Storm’: Addressing the Agriculture, Energy, Water, Climate Change Nexus, also challenged perceptions about science and research.
“I’ve developed my understanding of ruminant greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of animal protein,” said Ms Owen.
“There are often two extremes in the debate, but rather than taking ‘sides’, we should all work together to improve our knowledge of sustainable food production globally.
“Keynote speaker, Professor Sir Charles Godfray FRS proposed that we should regain respect for the intrinsic value of food and alter our dietary behaviour to incorporate ‘flexitarian’ habits.
“CSIRO senior research scientist Dr Di Mayberry highlighted that Australian ruminant emissions have decreased from 21 per cent in 2005, to 10 per cent in 2016, suggesting that further reduction is entirely possible with the right support.”
“The conference has encouraged me to think about current challenging issues such as climate change and to look on broader perspectives before designing any research,” Ms Pandey said.
“It has also inspired me to work for people and focus more on problem driven research.”
“The scholar program presented clear pathways into a career in international agricultural research and development,” Ms Owen said. “It has also consolidated my desire to be a part of research in global climate smart agriculture. I am considering eventually pursuing a PhD in the realm of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in ruminants.”