Career research awards make the investment in capability, innovation and development

Date Posted

3 July, 2017

Posted by

Cathy Weis

Applications are open for Sugar Research Australia’s (SRA’s) Early-Career and Mid-Career Researcher (ECR/MCR) Awards, which encourage innovative research ideas and enhance the capability of the research sector that supports the Australian sugarcane industry.

Dr Michael O’Shea, General Manager of the Research Funding Unit at SRA, said the awards were an investment in professional development for people directly involved in the sugarcane industry.

The awards are available for diverse activities, including for researchers who may require initial results or a proof of concept prior to developing a larger project, and who want to expand their skills and build collaborations in pursuit of an innovative initiative.

“SRA usually grants two ECR/MCR awards per year at a typical level of $10,000 to $15,000 per award,” Dr O’Shea said. “They present a valuable professional development opportunity for researchers in the Australian sugarcane industry, to assist them to develop innovative and transformative projects that benefit sugarcane growers and millers.

“SRA is committed to investing in research that can be adopted on farm or in the mill, and providing a tangible and positive outcome for sugarcane growers and millers. All applications will be assessed in that context of their benefit to the industry.”

The benefits of the ECR/MCR awards should be aligned with the Key Focus Areas within the SRA strategic plan. Applications close on August 31, 2017.

QUT Researcher Dr Jan Zhanying Zhang has participated in an ECR / MCR Award where he investigated the use of biocontrol agents and biofertilisers for sugarcane to enhance growth.

“Further research based on my project may lead to the development and adoption of SRA-developed packages for integrated management of key diseases,” Dr Zhang said. “Biocontrol agents are environmentally friendly, and the use of these agents could improve sugarcane growth and sugar production, while manufacturing biocontrol agents would provide job opportunities in rural and regional areas.

“I encourage early- and mid-career research scientists in the Australian sugarcane industry to apply for this professional development opportunity.”

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