The ICM Agrifood Awards recognise and acknowledge the outstanding work of two early career scientists or technologists who have achieved substantial peer/industry recognition for their work in a field critical to continued improvement of the overall Australian food sector in the past five years.
Winners each receive $5000, sponsored by ICM Agribusiness, one of Australia’s major agribusiness groups. The Awards are administered by the Academy.
Dr Shu Kee Lam: “Managing healthier soil”
Higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are impacting Australia’s agriculture and food security. Dr Shu Kee Lam, a Research Fellow at the School of Agriculture and Food at the University of Melbourne, is tackling this issue from the perspective of soil nitrogen management.
His research is providing critical knowledge for the uncertain future of agriculture in a changing climate.
His recent paper in Global Change Biology was chosen by the European Commission (Environment) to inform 20,000 policy-makers on developing nitrogen use policy in agriculture.
Dr Angela Van de Wouw: “Saving the canola industry from blackleg”
Dr Angela Van de Wouw, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s School of Biosciences, is an internationally recognised leading expert on the canola disease, blackleg. Caused by a fungus, blackleg almost wiped out the industry in the early 1970s.
She discovered new ways to control the devastating disease, including identifying blackleg-resistant genes in canola, creating molecular tests to predict disease outbreaks and developing disease management strategies.
Her research helped reopen the Chinese market to Australian canola imports in 2013.
Dr Rebecca Darbyshire, understanding fruit and nut trees and weather
One of Dr Rebecca Darbyshire’s major contributions to Australia’s agriculture sector has been to introduce innovative ways to make complex scientific results more readable and accessible for on-the-ground application. Often, adaptation techniques aren’t applied because of poor understanding.
She has also boosted the knowledge on how fruit trees respond to a range of weather conditions, focusing on winter chill and extreme heat damage, as well as flowering cycles.
Dr James Hunt, raising grain productivity
Dr James Hunt has dedicated his research to supporting grain growers across the Australian wheat belt to improve the productivity and profit of grain-based farms.
Since 2012, he has improved summer fallow management across southern and western grain regions of Australia; helped properly define optimal flowering and sowing dates in different Australian environments; and developed the “fast winter” wheat cultivar.