New generation of researchers responds to water challenge
Scholarships established to attract young people into irrigation research are proving popular, with women taking a strong interest.
A new initiative of the National Program for Sustainable Irrigation (NPSI) provides final year university students with an opportunity to conduct short research, extension or industry projects under the direct supervision of a researcher.
The $6,000 scholarship can be for a short-term project or as part of a final year honours project.
NPSI Program Coordinator, Guy Roth, believes that providing opportunities for university students is an important role for the research community. “Young people with an interest in natural resource science see the water challenge going beyond the critical issues of river flows and health of our streams and groundwater, and extending to sustainable and efficient use of water for irrigation,” he said. “We have a research community across Australia that is enthusiastic about supporting irrigation research and helping develop young men and women who hopefully will build on the success of Australian irrigation.
“We recognise that people are essential to the success and survival of the industry, and that is why it is important to develop people’s skills and capacity to adapt to and meet the challenges facing Australian irrigation.”
In the latest round of undergraduate student scholarships, four were awarded: Kimberley Althaus from University of Southern Queensland, Samantha Connor from Flinders University, Felicity Roos from University of Sydney, and Amber Webster from James Cook University.
“There is a diverse range of interests represented, some which extend existing studies but all of which provide a rich experience for the students involved, working alongside some of our best researchers,” Guy Roth said. “It can be a career-starting experience. Our first scholarship winner, Ross Stottelaar from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, looked at salt management issues around Lake Tutchewop in Victoria. He has now relocated to Perth to take up a position as Water Resource Engineer for an environmental consulting company, a move he directly attributes to the scholarship experience.”
Whether scholarship recipients find careers in private enterprise, research agencies or government authorities, NPSI will be pleased when any of its support encourages outstanding young students into the irrigation and water research sector.
Contact: Sarah Leonardi, NPSI Program Officer (02) 6263 6000 www.npsi.gov.au