A shared passion to minimise the adverse effects of drought on agricultural productivity has earned scholarships for two Agricultural Science students at The University of Western Australia.
Liam Ryan and Kimberley Adams were awarded a fourth-year Sir Eric Smart Scholarship through UWA's Institute of Agriculture. Although the quest for adaptation to drought and improved water-use efficiency was driving both projects, they used very different approaches, with Liam focusing on new technology and Kimberley on farm management practices. Both students completed their projects through UWA's School of Plant Biology.
Kimberley, who grew up on her parents' broad-acre farm in WA's Great Southern region, is looking forward to work in the WA grain belt as an agronomist.
She attributed the successful completion of her project to the hands-on help from her parents throughout the trial, funding support from Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Grower Group Alliance and the Sir Eric Smart Scholarship, and supervisors Dr Ken Flower at UWA and CSIRO's Dr Phil Ward and Dr Margaret Roper.
Liam comes from a small, mixed-farming enterprise in Toodyay and his research project assessed the potential use of a novel technology called the Leaf Patch Clamp Pressure Probe (ZIM Probe) as a new screening tool in drought research.
He completed his project with support from UWA supervisors Dr Helen Bramley and Professor Erik Veneklaas, ZIM-Plant Technology (Germany), GRDC, Group of Eight Daad German Research Cooperation scheme, an Edith Easthope Scholarship from UWA's Faculty of Science and a Sir Eric Smart Scholarship.
The late Sir Eric Smart was once the world's largest individual wheat grower and a great believer in scientific research and development as the key to improving agricultural productivity.
A pioneer cereal and lupin producer in the Mingenew area, he was one of the first growers to appreciate the value of science in agriculture which led him to endow substantial funds to UWA upon his death in 1973. This was later supplemented by a gift from his son Peter Smart.
Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique, Director of the UWA Institute of Agriculture, said Sir Eric wanted science to improve agricultural production.
"We are grateful for his appreciation and generosity that has allowed us to encourage some of our best young agricultural scientists in their pursuit of productive and sustainable agriculture," Professor Siddique said.
Kimberley Adams (+61 4) 29 566 777
Liam Ryan (+61 4) 01 503 143
Ully Fritsch, Communication Manager (The UWA Institute of Agriculture) (+61 8) 6488 3756
UWA Public Affairs Media Team (+61 8) 6488 7977 / (+61 4) 32 637 716