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By Renee Currenti I write this as my mind is a whirlwind of thoughts – what I need to pack, what I’ll likely forget to pack, the fact that I’m flying to Fiji in one day and returning in sixty-five days after two months in the field. ‘The field’ for my Masters research is based in Nawairuku village in the highlands of Ra province in Fiji. I am in the thick of my Master of Arts (Geography) program at the University of the Sunshine Coast within the Sustainability Research Centre. This program follows my Bachelor of Science (Sustainability) / Bachelor…
Thursday, 15 June 2017 00:00

Graduate thoughts on reduced aid funding

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Australian researchers in international agriculture need to re-focus on communicating the value of our research in a time of reduced aid funding 1, 2, 3. As of 2016, Australia contributes 0.32% of our gross national income (GNI) to aid despite a UN country target of 0.70% of GNI. Compared to the 28 wealthy OECD member nations that give aid, Australia ranks 16th. Australia’s international aid has reduced in the last year, at a time when 22 of the 28 OECD member nations increased their contributions. While some critics of Australia’s aid spending may applaud this, this ignores the fact that…
Thursday, 01 June 2017 00:00

Digging up advice on family, work and surnames

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By Skye Gabb I’m being offered a lot of advice at the moment! In 2017 I’m getting married and having my first child and everyone seems to have opinions on both weddings and babies. But, this isn’t the advice I am looking for! Rather, I need advice on how to sustain my career through what will be a busy and disruptive few years. Below is a summary of advice from colleagues that I’ve approached. Some you will agree with, some you won’t, but hopefully it will make you think! 1. Seek advice When approached, people can be incredibly generous with their…
Friday, 19 May 2017 00:00

Remembering how to write beautifully

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By Caspar Roxburgh I was recently on a writing retreat with my research group. Ostensibly arranged by our boss to workshop each other’s current publications-in-draft, it was notable for its glaring lack of discussion on actual writing. Of course, we reviewed each person’s research, presentations were given, and there was talk of how to produce relevant and valuable figures. But on the final morning, as we sat in debate over the precise text of our ‘mission’ and ‘vision’, I was struck by how little we had thought or discussed the art of writing. I now live in the fear that…
Thursday, 11 May 2017 00:00

From paper to paperless with CommCare

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By Christian Genova 5. This is the number of hours it took, on average, to complete my paper-based survey questionnaire during the pre-testing in Vietnam. The reaction of our first respondent is still vivid, their face was a roadmap of emotions, traveling from all-embracing, to puzzled, and then to frustration. My survey questionnaire was comprehensive, to a fault. This was to ensure that all factors affecting household diets of rural farming households were captured; this included dietary intake, disease, gender roles, poor surroundings, consumption patterns, farm production information, anthropometric measurements, among many other factors. Inevitably, the time it takes for…
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