New Digi-Ag Scholar announced

Congratulations to ANU graduate Stephen Rogers who has been awarded the latest Digital Agriculture PhD Supplementary Scholarship! The scholarship, offered by CSIRO’s Data61, aims to support outstanding PhD students to do cutting-edge research addressing challenges in the agricultural sector through the application of information science.

Stephen’s PhD project involves using biological modelling to predict the canopy temperature of crops. While CSIRO is already doing work predicting canopy temperature using ground sensors, only a limited number of crops have these sensors. Stephen’s research aims to combine ground sensor data with comprehensive weather data to forecast and predict canopy temperature for various crops. This information is crucial in determining the optimal amount of water to use, ultimately contributing to more efficient water usage.

“The overall goal is to use less water. If you’re just using weather data to predict how much you water, you generally over-irrigate; rather than if you have a more accurate prediction you can irrigate the right amounts and save water,” Stephen says.

The project also provides Stephen with a unique opportunity to collaborate with, and be mentored by experienced researchers from both CSIRO and ANU.

“I have two supervisors at CSIRO, Warren Jin and Rose Roche, and Dani Way at ANU. I’ll likely be based more at CSIRO as the work aligns more with Warren’s expertise, more on the maths side of things.”

Stephen has recently completed an undergrad in Biology at ANU. His Honours research involved making a DNA substitution model: “It can be used for representing evolution and species relationship, which is a more complex way to represent that process.”

Stephen found the Digital Agriculture project interesting, despite not having a background in traditional agriculture. He’s excited to get to work with some interesting data and develop new skills, with the added benefit of possibly contributing to the future of sustainable farming in Australia.

The scholarship will provide Stephen with a top-up scholarship of $15,000 per annum for three and a half years, with a possibility of a six-month extension. Additionally, he will receive an allowance of $5,000 to support professional development and research-related travel.

The next round of the CSIRO Data61 Digital Agriculture PhD Supplementary Scholarship is now open. To find out more and to submit an Expression of Interest, please go to the CEAT webpage.

EOIs close on 14 August 2023.

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