Research awards make the investment in capability, innovation and development

Date Posted

3 August, 2018

Posted by

Cathy Weis

Applications are open for Sugar Research Australia’s (SRA’s) Sugar Industry Research 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 and building capability in the industry.

“As a component of SRA’s investment in industry capability, we offer opportunities for researchers who provide services to the Australian sugar industry via Research Awards,” Dr O’Shea said. “These awards are intended to encourage innovative thinking and allow participants to conduct small projects that can demonstrate benefits to the Australian sugarcane industry.

“Projects may be used to develop research skills or explore new and innovative ideas. We know that not every idea or concept leads to success, but the objective of this scheme is to help provide a catalyst that could result in great potential R&D opportunities.”

The Awards are open to researchers at all stages of their career and individual project support is capped at a maximum of $20,000 per award.

Applications for the Sugar Industry Research Awards should be aligned with the Key Focus Areas within the SRA strategic plan. Applications close on 1 October, 2018.

CSIRO Researcher Dr Johan Pierre participated in a Research Award project recently where he examined cutting edge technology that could improve the industry’s understanding of sugarcane roots.

Thanks to this Award and significant support from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (both time and financial) and CSIRO who were supportive of developing his Research Award experience, Dr Pierre has developed a fast, accurate and specific diagnostic tool to quantify live sugarcane mass in soil samples.

An assay on root health could present several opportunities for the industry since live root mass is a great barometer for soil health.

Dr Pierre said there was still some work to occur on the process, but this was now linking back to other projects underway through SRA investment.

“I encourage researchers with innovative ideas to apply for these awards,” he said.

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