Coconut researcher to compete in global competition

17 Aug 2016

Quang Nguyen between coconut treesUniversity of Queensland PhD student and Australia Awards Scholarship recipient Quang Nguyen knows his coconuts, and is working to help farmers increase coconut crop production during global climate change.

"Coconut is one of the most interesting crops to grow in the coming years due to its ability to cope with sea-level rises," he said.

"Therefore rapid multiplication of these planting materials is of paramount importance."

Quang, of the UQ School of Agriculture and Food Sciences has been selected as a finalist in a global Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition (in which PhD researchers explain their research in three minutes).

He will present his 3MT®, titled Coconut Cloning on September 23 at the McDonnell International Scholars Academy 6th International Symposium, to be held in Brisbane on 22-25 September. 

Quang will compete against four other students from the USA, Singapore and Hong Kong, under the Symposium theme of Food, Water and Climate Change.

A second UQ PhD student, Tony Heynen will compete in the Energy & Environment section.

Quang, who last year received the UQ David Farrell Postgraduate Award, is currently completing a PhD on the topic of Micropropagation of coconut for germplasm exchange and elite seedling production supervised by Professor Stephen Adkins.

"My research project is focused on cloning coconut seedlings using advanced cell and tissue culture techniques," he said.

"Once optimised, the system can be scaled up to benefit millions of coconut growers and their families across the developing parts of the world."

"The project also helps mass produce a range of elite coconut varieties, providing a novel source of
income for many needful farmers."


Before coming to Australia, Quang was a researcher at the International University which belongs to Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City.

"The Australia Awards program has offered me not only a PhD scholarship to a leading university but also an incredible chance to outreach the world," he said.The University of Queensland has rocketed up the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, to rank 55th globally and second in Australia. The news comes on the back of UQ’s top-50 placings in other global rankings.

To learn more about postgraduate study opportunities in UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.