THE CRAWFORD FUND E-Newsletter, November 2016
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Highlights E-Newsletter
The Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit organisation that conducts activities to raise awareness of the benefits to Australia and developing countries from international agricultural research. It commissions studies on research policy and practice, and arranges specialist training activities for developing country agricultural scientists.
"Around the globe we have amazing crop varieties but we need to conserve them for their traits to fight climate change," said Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, during her recent visit to Australia that coincided with a visit by the managers of global genebanks.

Marie HagaTo raise awareness of the importance of wild relatives of crops and the need for additional support for their conservation, Marie held discussions with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and spoke at a well-attended public event organised by the Fund, with the National Rural Press Club. Most were surprised to hear of the wealth of crop wild relatives in Australia.

Marie was also involved in interviews we organised with national print, TV (pictured left on ABC TV 'The World') and radio to discuss crop biodiversity conservation, the Svalbard Seed Vault and research efforts around crop wild relatives. You can learn more about Crop Wild Relatives from our web story.

The visit preceded another of the Fund's training on Genebank Operations and Advanced Learning (GOAL) with the Trust, this time held in India—to be reported in our next newsletter.
Many years of experience in public awareness and training work enables the Crawford Fund to identify skills gaps. In the same way the Fund developed a Master Class around communication skills, we recognised the need for specific training for agricultural research and project managers to help them better manage and lead their teams and organisations. We now have a new Master Class in Research Leadership and Management, developed by the Crawford Fund’s Director of Master Classes and Training, Colin Chartres, with Shaun Coffey—both experienced and successful leaders of R&D organisations.

MC ParticipantsThe course was held for the first time earlier this month at the WorldFish Center in Penang. It provides a structured approach to long-standing challenges, such as strategic planning, project management systems, and human resource and finance management, but with an overlay of making these discussions relevant to the current needs of the international settings in which the participants work.

The 24 participants came from all major regions of the world and are engaged in agricultural R&D. Read more about this inaugural training course here. We look forward to offering this and our communications Master Classes again in 2017.
The Crawford-in-Western Australia International Agricultural Student Awards have been launched and we are inviting applications now!

The Crawford Fund’s Western Australia Committee offers a small number of competitive travel awards for tertiary students each year. The purpose is to facilitate active student participation in international agricultural
projects, so that they gain valuable experience in developing countries.

EthiopiaThe awards are open to WA Honours and postgraduate students in a relevant biophysical or socio‐economic field of agriculture, animal production, fisheries, forestry, natural resource management or food security.

Erin Pope, a former conference scholar, was the inaugural winner of a WA travel award scholarship, enabling her to travel to Ethiopia to work on ACIAR's FACASI project. You can learn more about these awards, including how to apply, on our website.

And More to Come... Other Crawford Fund State Committees will be offering awards in the coming months and we will be posting information as they are launched.
RAIDWe continue our efforts working with RAID to provide networking opportunities for young Australians to learn more about career, volunteering and study opportunities in international agricultural research—this month, events were held in Perth and Wagga Wagga. We spread word of these events on our website and Twitter accounts, as does RAID, so stay tuned. RAID and the Fund will be attending the first DFAT Valuing Volunteers event in early December to increase awareness of opportunities for returned volunteers.
As part of the Crawford Fund’s Conference Scholarship initiative, each sponsored scholar is required to write a short report on their impressions and take-home messages of the conference.

ACT 2016 ScholarsWe have been sharing the reports from the 2016 Annual Conference ‘Waste Not, Want Not: The circular economy to food security’ as they come in and have been inspired and encouraged by the positive feedback.

“I was impressed by the energy and passion of volunteers and researchers working in developing countries. Through their drive, creative and innovative solutions are being developed and their enthusiasm is contagious,” reports ACT Scholar Ross Dennis.

NT 2016 ScholarThe six ACT-based scholars (pictured above) came from Charles Sturt University, Australian National
University and CSIRO. A PhD candidate from Charles Darwin University (pictured right) was the NT Committee sponsored scholar. Keep an eye out on our Home Page for future reports.

We are always appreciative of the support we get for the scholars—from individuals, and the academic and private sectors—and will be approaching prospective partners and supporters for next year's conference scholars early in 2017. If you would like more information, please contact Cathy Reade.
Inspired by a recent visit to Thailand under the New Colombo Plan, former conference scholar Justin Whittle created a video that explains his journey and passion for a career in agriculture for development. In this video, “School of Science & Health: Making the most of it”, he discusses the impact of his international journey.

Justin's Video

He recently tweeted his thanks to the Crawford Fund for encouraging him in his passion for international agricultural research. You can read more here.
Important training to help with PNG food safety and trade

PNG FellowshipWe've recently reported on the Crawford Fund's NSW Committee supporting a candidate to attend the 2nd Australia/OCEANIAFOODS Training course on Food Composition Data, which was run by the ARC Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in Food Manufacture. Lewis Taku is a chemist from the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) Chemistry Lab. The training he received will now be used by Lewis and staff in his NARI laboratory in areas of data collection, and the evaluation of crops and new feed formulations.

“We are hoping to work alongside relevant entities, both in Australia and PNG, to develop a national food composition database for our country,” said Lewis.

The overall aim of the training was to learn more about the production, quality and evaluation of food composition data. The course emphasised the need for better quality data in nutrition, and the use of such data for assessing the nutritional quality of foods. This would aid better monitoring of dietary intakes, food supplies and labelling of processed foods.
Adding to our efforts around biosecurity and trade for Laos

Bunchy-top virusLaos is the poorest country in South-East
Asia, and has only a small team of plant pathologists. The Fund has a concerted effort underway through our mentoring and volunteering initiatives to build capacity around plant pathology in Laos. Recently, Ms Khonesavanh Chittarath received a training award from the Crawford Fund Queensland Committee to travel to Australia to undertake research within the plant virology group at The University of Queensland.

Ms Chittarath made tremendous progress in diagnosing diseases from plant specimens imported from Laos under quarantine. Several new records of plant viruses were made, including the banana bunchy top virus. Knowledge of viral pathogens of crops in Laos has now trebled, thanks to the endeavours of Ms Chittarath. It is hoped that the new diagnostic skills she has acquired will further help our efforts around new disease control strategies for Laotian famers.
Improving Marine Management in Myanmar

Myanmar biodiversityThe Myeik Archipelago of western Myanmar is a highly diverse region consisting of more than 800 islands. It is widely
recognised as a priority for conservation and management, due to its unique species and habitats, and pressures from development and resource use.

We recently reported on a training workshop on integrated management planning for the Myeik Archipelago (Myanmar), held at the Myanmar Fisheries Federation and run by specialists with experience from CSIRO, UNEP and the Wildlife Conservation Society of Myanmar. The workshop aimed to exchange information on management approaches that have been used elsewhere, and discuss what might be best suited to dealing with the particular issues facing the Myeik Archipelago.
The 25 participants were encouraged to discuss their research, the implications for management, and the merits of alternative approaches. The agenda included presentations by Universities, NGOs, the Department of Fisheries and international agencies. You can learn more about the training here.
We would like to highlight some upcoming events that have a food security focus, and welcome information about food security related events you may have planned.
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