International Volunteer Day, celebrated each year on December 5, was started by the United Nations (UN) in 1985 to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of volunteers to international development. Each year, the UN sets a theme for the day, and in 2018, it’s "volunteers build resilient communities". As a shining example of the contributions volunteers can make to development, returned Australian volunteer Jenn Learmonth writes about her experience volunteering in Vanuatu. Jenn was on assignment as an Agriculture Extension Officer for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and here she reflects on the highs, lows and learning from her…
Friday, 30 November 2018 13:10

Space + Time + Sleep + Exercise à Excellence in Management + Leadership

Written by Bianca Das
By Bianca Das and David Mcgill We often think about our jobs purely as scientists - ‘crunching the numbers and writing good papers makes us good at our jobs,’ but a critical part of what we do is working with teams, managing people and being a leader (sometimes from very early on in our career). Tied up in doing this well is a medley of additional skills that aren’t necessarily specific to science/agriculture, but are essential to running good projects and producing good science. This message was brought home at the Penang Crawford Fund Leadership and Management Masterclass, in November,…
Thursday, 22 November 2018 13:25

Upskilling... in your spare time... for free!

Written by Jack Hetherington
By Jack Hetherington I have always been interested in how agricultural R&D has spillover benefits or interactions to other areas of international development, such as human health, gender equity, sustainable resource management, etc. However, it can be challenging to get a cohesive and current story about how these go together. Also, having done my university studies focusing on a particular discipline, you don’t always get the fundamental theory and examples of these other areas. Moreover, I am very much the kind of person that needs a bit of structure and some interaction to get me over the line to learn…
Friday, 16 November 2018 13:34

"We are one sweat"

Written by
By Ileana Berezanski A little bit of team bonding, some long work days, a lot of humidity, and a touch of heat stroke & dehydration led to that gem of a quote (perfect for a blog title!). I have loved travelling for a long time and I have grown to love travelling with a purpose. That is why I am so appreciative of the travel opportunities for university students. The 11-day whirlwind trip to Myanmar was fantastic! I loved the country, the people, and especially the work we completed! We were piloting research in association with an ACIAR funded project…
Friday, 02 November 2018 13:04

The light at the end of the field: guiding humans to become biological controls

Written by Lucinda Dunn
By Lucinda Dunn I’ve just come back from my first field season in Cambodia for my PhD fieldwork. My PhD is aimed at networking a way to sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) for rice in Northwest Cambodia. This will be achieved by developing an integrated understanding of the insect pest, predator and farm management networks that influence Cambodian rice production. So, I arrived in Siem Reap with my mind focused on the smaller things in life (insects), and I set out to explore what Cambodian rice fields had to offer. Driving from Siem Reap to Battambang is a sea of…
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