Winners announced for the 2020 AgriEducate Essay Competition

It’s with great excitement that today we announce the winners of the 2020 AgriEducate Essay Competition! Now in its third iteration, the competition is driving engagement with students of all disciplines and agriculture, helping solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges. This year we received entries from 12 universities across Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT!

The competition has four main categories:

  • Science (e.g. agriculture, medicine, life sciences, nutrition)
  • Engineering/IT/Maths
  • Law/Arts/Social Sciences/Extension/Education
  • Economics/Commerce/Business

Tertiary students at any stage of their degree, from any Australian university were eligible to enter and apply their degree-specific expertise to agriculture. Each category had a prize pool of $1000, with $700 for first, $200 for second and $100 awarded for third place entries. The most exciting part, beyond the cash prize, is that each winner will have an opportunity to discuss a career in agriculture with the category sponsor, where each sponsor is a leader in the Australian agricultural industry with expertise relevant to the essay category. This year the sponsors were:

  • Science: Ag Institute Australia
  • Engineering/IT/Maths: SwarmFarm
  • Law/Arts/Social Sciences/Extension/Education: Bailiwick Legal
  • Economics/Commerce/Business: Rural Affinity

In the tremendously tough year that has been 2020, the question incorporated the importance of the agricultural system highlighted by the pandemic. Specifically the question was:

Agriculture and food security around the world is consistently challenged by a range of factors; be they climatic, social, economic, workforce, geopolitical, technological, or consumer and public perception.

Yet the global pandemic has highlighted the importance of agriculture and the food supply chain globally, demonstrating the importance of farmers, agribusiness professionals, researchers and service providers associated with this essential industry.

In this context, identify one major issue affecting agriculture or food security in your region, and tell us how your discipline could be contributing to overcome this issue

So without further ado, the winners of the 2020 AgriEducate Essay Competition are:

Science Category

First
Juliet Garland, University of Sydney | The Potential for Upcycling Brewers’ Spent Grain as a Functional Food Ingredient in Human Foodstuff – The Importance of the Role of Food Science in Overcoming Food Insecurity

Second
Josie Clarke, University of Sydney | Water Woes: producing more with less

Third
Lianna Sliwczynski, LaTrobe University | Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) integration with wheat crops in Victoria

Engineering Category

First
James Elphick, University of Southern Queensland | Machinery maintenance and the right to repair

Second
Dylan Sanusi-Goh, University of New South Wales | Optimising analytical imaging and sensing techniques to improve viticulture outcomes across the Australian Wine industry

Third
Cameron Leckie, University of Southern Queensland | Agriculture in a liquid fuel constrained world

Law, Arts and Social Science Category

First
Jemima Morgan, University of Sydney | The development of agri-funding models in Australia and the utilisation of the personal property securities register as a mechanism of securing loans

Second
Jack Redman, University of New England| How education can help combat the effects of agricultural fake-news

Third
Courtney Nelson, Australian National University | Creating trust in agriculture

Business Category

First
Molly Young, University of Sydney | Importance and Role of Strategic Business Decisions in Ensuring Success in the Food and Agribusiness Sector

Second
Kate Smith, University of New England | Australian agriculture and the constraints of water law in the Murray Darling Basin

Third
Mounika Naramdasu, LaTrobe University | Challenges of Agriculture and Food Security in Victoria


A huge congratulations to all entrants and winners for putting together some fascinating essays on critical issues facing Australian agriculture, particularly in spite of all the challenges that the pandemic has created. The essay compilation, where winning essays are published will be released next week.

Finally, the Essay Competition can’t happen without the fantastic and unwavering support of the volunteer team, who dedicate their own time, money, creativity and diverse set of skills to run this as smoothly as possible. This year the team was coordinated by Nicole McDonald, with assistance from Aimee Snowden, Matthew Champness, Francesca Earp, Matthew Nevison, Rebekah Ash and Guy Coleman.

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