Bright agricultural innovators win prestigious prizes

29 Nov 2016

Two of The University of Queensland’s brightest agricultural minds have been awarded the prestigious Bell and Bryan medals for their research on sugar cane and barley.

The medals, presented by the Ag Institute of Australia (Queensland branch), commemorate two of Queensland’s most influential agricultural figures Dr W. W. Bryan and Arthur F. Bell.  

According to Associate Professor Vic Galea of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, competition for the medals is strong with the highest quality students competing for the honours.

“The research being undertaken by students has significant potential to benefit agricultural industries and the environment,” Associate Professor Galea said.

“This year’s winners and finalists are no exception, demonstrating confidence and maturity in their research.”

Associate Professor Galea congratulated the winners and finalists announced at a special presentation at UQ Gatton campus on November 17.

The Arthur F. Bell Memorial Medal winner was Bachelor of Environmental Science student Kiara Crook who investigated The effect of organic amendments on sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) root health and function and associated nematode populations.

Finalists were Bachelor of Agricultural Science students Emma Teese and Alexandra Thomson.

The Dr W.W (Wilf) Bryan Memorial Medal winner was Master of Agricultural Science student Paul Epee for his study of Sensor-based algorithms to improve barley Nitrogen efficiency in Queensland.

Finalists were Master of Food Science & Technology student Udodinma Okeke and Master of Agricultural Science student Melinda Simpson.

The Bell Memorial Medal is awarded to the student judged to have submitted the best Research Project with a clear focus on agriculturally relevant research arising from the fourth year of a four-year undergraduate degree.

The Bryan Medal is awarded to the student judged to have submitted the best Honours or Coursework Masters Thesis with a clear focus on agriculturally relevant research. 

The Bell and Bryan Medals are a long-standing tradition dating back to the 1950s when students were first awarded for their research excellence in this way.

Both awards came with an engraved Institute medal and $1000 cash prize.

The awards are based on the quality of written theses submitted by the students and an oral presentation made by them to a special meeting of Institute representatives and invited guests.

Guest speaker at the event was Bryan Memorial Medal winner 2014, Belinda Worland, whose interest in science research began as a first-year undergraduate with the Advanced Study Program in Science (ASPinS) and continued through to her Honours year.

She is now in the second year of her PhD and has recently returned from Montpellier, France, where she presented her research at the international nitrogen conference for plant nutrition.

Bell Medal: Deputy Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Associate Professor Vic Galea, Bell Medal winner Kiara Crook, Felicity McIntosh (AIAST Qld Division Vice Chair), Peter Allsopp (AIAST Qld Division).

Bryan Medal: Deputy Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Associate Professor Vic Galea, Bryan Medal winner Paul Epee, Felicity McIntosh (AIAST Qld Division Vice Chair), Peter Allsopp (AIAST Qld Division).

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