Top Tasmanian student awarded international travel scholarship

One outstanding university student from Launceston will kick-start her agricultural science career by spending a week with some of the world’s top agro-chemists, thanks to a travelling scholarship sponsored by Dow AgroSciences.

In early December, Madeleine Francis, a final year agricultural science student at the University of Tasmania, will spend a week at Dow AgroSciences’ world renowned Waireka Global Discovery Research Station, characterising the next generation of plant protection products for farmers around the globe. She will assist in project planning, observations, data collection and reporting.

Madeleine Francis from Launceston, Tasmania has been awarded a traveling scholarship to the Waireka Global Discovery Research Station in New Zealand, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences.

The trip, she says, will broaden her professional network and provide invaluable applied research experience.

“I am so excited that I’ve been chosen for this award because—after researching perennial ryegrass in the dairy industry this year—I have heard a lot about agricultural research in New Zealand. It will be great to see how Dow AgroSciences works and how it aims to help the agricultural industry,” Madeleine said.

“I see working in agriculture as a real opportunity to do something practical and hands on, and apply my science knowledge and passion.”

Under the More Milk from Forages program funded by Dairy Australia, Madeleine recently completed an Honours project investigating the role of endophytes in perennial ryegrass with Dr Keith Pembleton, project supervisor from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.

“Madeleine has been an extremely bright and dedicated student. She completed a very challenging Honours project that has some good implications for industry,” Keith said.

Keith added that a week at Waireka would give Madeleine valuable work experience in a commercial research setting with direct industry application, which could be very different from university research.

“As a new graduate, you come into an industry with very little professional network. Being able to come into and establish that within such an international agro-chemical company like Dow AgroSciences, as a new student, is an amazing opportunity,” he said.

The Travelling Scholarship Program began as part of a long-term strategy developed through a partnership between Dow AgroSciences and the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) to attract a future generation of young people to careers in agriculture.

Madeleine is the fourth student to receive the travelling scholarship. Dr Matt Cahill, Dow AgroSciences’ Research and Development Leader Australia/New Zealand believes the experience is invaluable not only to Madeleine’s career, but also to the industry’s future.

“Students are able to build their professional profile through this placement and can go on to develop great careers in agriculture. But what really is exciting, is the passion, enthusiasm and curiosity they bring with them to the industry.”