As we near the end of the year many of us are probably keen to see the back of 2020, a year that began with devastating bushfires and then saw a global pandemic that’s changed the way we live and work.
In a year filled with challenges there is also much to celebrate. Here in southern NSW farmers are harvesting a record grain crop or filling haysheds - something that is most welcome after years of drought.
At the Graham Centre we’re also celebrating the achievements of students who despite the challenges of COVID have completed their research and have graduated.
Congratulations to Dr Jane Kelly (pictured top) who's PhD research examined the prevalence, management and economic impact of seed contamination in sheep carcasses by barley grass.
Dr Pingyang Zhu has been awarded his PhD for research, ‘Ecological engineering for pest suppression: promoting parasitoid wasps using nectar plants’.
Dr Annie Riaz's (pictured below) PhD through the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Functional Grains has investigated protein composition and baking characteristics of Australian wheat varieties released between 1860 and 2015.
Honours students Jane Nelson, Liam Mowbray, Rhys Powell, Madeline Paley, Erin Stranks, Anne-Maree Farley, Kate Webster, Maryam Barati, Haben Melke and M Raiyan Mahbub have also graduated in 2020.
Many other research students have completed their studies and we look forward to celebrating their ‘official graduation’ once the University Council has conferred awards. It’s also important to acknowledge the dedication of their supervisors who have supported these students during such difficult times.
Indeed all our scientists have done an outstanding job to ensure their research could continue and to secure new projects that will advance our grain and red meat industries. One of these is the Cool Soil Initiative, a $2 million investment over three years that will work with 200 farmers to investigate opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A special mention to Professor Geoff Gurr who won the Engagement Australia Award in the category Outstanding Engagement for Research impact for his work on novel pest management programs. Recognition of this work is well deserved and exemplifies the world class and impactful research undertaken by Graham Centre members.
So as we say goodbye to 2020 I wish you a safe and happy festive season.
Professor Leigh Schmidtke, Acting Graham Centre Director