Agriculture of the future will be digitally integrated at all stages of the value-chain, from understanding genetics and real-time monitoring of on-farm conditions, through to transport logistics and traceability. CSIRO and ANU have partnered to offer exciting opportunities for PhD students to work with scientists and engineers at the cutting edge of research that is addressing industry challenges, through the application of information science in the agricultural sector. This has been done through the Digital Agriculture PhD supplementary scholarship program, which CEAT supports by sourcing joint supervision and student projects from across its ANU and CSIRO networks, and managing the scholarship program.
The Digital Agriculture PhD program was initiated by CSIRO’s Data61 with the mission to support PhD candidates to apply their information science skills to agricultural challenges in novel ways. Digital Agriculture Scholarship students work along side leading research scientists and engineers in first-class facilities across CSIRO and ANU. Students have access to professional development opportunities to enhance their career development, while building industry relevant skills and working on real-world agri-sector problems.
Read on to learn more about two of the recipients of the Digital Agriculture PhD scholarship from the ANU, Michael Wellington and Yan Yang.
Michael studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland. He chose to study agriculture because he wanted to work on multidisciplinary challenges. After finishing his undergraduate study, Michael worked as an agricultural consultant across northern Australia, where he learnt a lot about working with people and agricultural management. Michael’s PhD is run through ANU and CSIRO and is focussed on applications for remote sensing assessment of smallholder irrigation in southern Africa. Its purpose it to improve understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of irrigated farming in southern Africa to enable more profitable and efficient crop production for farmers in the region.
Yan received a Bachelor of Advanced Computing with first-class honours from The Australian National University. His PhD is also supervised by both ANU and CSIRO researchers, and focuses on techniques to effectively integrate multimodal data to enable prediction of yield and yield component traits, such as flowering and photosynthesis in wheat. The project aims to optimise wheat profitability and resilience.
In the future, agricultural industries will have to address new and complex challenges. Technology and particularly emerging digital capabilities impact how things are done across the entire value chain. In order to ensure sustainability for the future, agriculture needs experts from fields outside of traditional agricultural studies as well as more traditional areas.
CEAT is proud to support the ANU and CSIRO in delivering this program, which is helping to develop the skills of current and future researchers and challenging them to think innovatively in using their expertise to tackle complex challenges in the agri sector. You can keep up to date with scholarship information and education opportunities on the CEAT Innovation Training Initiative webpage.