Welcome to the latest edition of the Innovator. I’m really excited to be writing welcoming words to readers for the first time since my appointment as Acting Director in November. Firstly a big thank you to Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover who has been Acting Director of the Centre for the past year. She has left a wonderful legacy of efficiency and strategic focus for the Graham Centre that supports researchers who are working to improve the profitability and productivity of our grain and red meat industries. Ultimately the outcomes of research undertaken by the Centre benefits Australian farmers, and their families, to sustainably produce world class produce that feeds our communities. Many farm enterprises are small to medium-sized family-owned business, and profits are spent in local communities. Vibrant farming families lead to vibrant rural and regional communities with strong social connectedness, values and support networks.
For those of you I haven’t met, let me tell you a little about myself. I am also the Director of the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC), an alliance between Charles Sturt, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Wine Industry Association. I have a background in microbiology and chemistry. My research interests include viticulture and oenology, in particular developing new rapid methods for assessing factors impacting on grapevine performance, berry composition and wine styles. I have been working with other Graham Centre researchers as a supervisor of one of our PhD students, Bridgette Logan, who's researching the application of hand-held Raman spectroscopy to verify the production claims of grass and grain-fed beef products.
As 2019 draws to a close it is timely to reflect on some of the Graham Centre’s achievements. We have hosted more than 200 high school students at our Science and Agriculture Enrichment Days to showcase our research and careers in agriculture, we have shared our findings with producers at events including the Livestock Forum, Agribusiness Today Forum, Australian Agronomy Conference and the World Shorthorn Conference; and we have opened new dung beetle mass rearing facilities. The Centre has also been able to support the work of our members through the Internal Grants Scheme, providing more than $450,000 in funding. This included providing financial support to undergraduate and post-graduate students through internships, Honours scholarships, PhD scholarships and conference support funding, as well as significant levels of financial support to members with the aim of generating future external income, building collaborations, engaging with industry, and presenting research outcomes.
Wishing you a safe and happy holidays.
Graham Centre Acting Director Professor Leigh Schmidtke.