Thursday, 25 September 2014

The JAFs are in town



This week the JAFs are in town. Short for John Allwright Fellows, JAFs are postgraduate (PhD and Masters) scholars supported by ACIAR’s John Allwright Fellowship scheme, which aims to enhance research capacity in ACIAR’s partner-country institutions.
Every year around September the new awardees gather in Canberra to meet each other and ACIAR staff, and to take part in a workshop on communicating research.


Nascimento Nhantumbo (Mozambique) and Khamtan Phonetip (Lao PDR)
This year there are five women and 17 men from 12 different countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mozambique, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The research topics are diverse. For example, Ms Risa Antari (Indonesia) is studying the effect of nutrition on bone growth in cattle at the University of Queensland. Mr Muneer Rehman (Pakistan) is investigating plant hormones to control citrus colouring at Curtin University. While Mr Khamtan Phonetip (Laos) is at the University of Melbourne to research the best way to dry plantation eucalypt wood using a solar kiln.


Ritika Chowdary (India) and Muneer Rehman (Pakistan)
 
They’ve had a jam-packed week so far. Day 1 was spent at ACIAR house, where they spent most of the day in the main conference room, meeting the research program managers and learning about ACIAR’s communications and impact assessment programs.

They also received insights and learnt of some of the challenges associated with completing a JAF from Muhammad Sohail Mazhar from Pakistan. Sohail is in his fourth and final year of his JAF-sponsored PhD on avocado bruising at the University of Queensland.

Ratih Damayanti and Dwiko Budi Permadi (Indonesia)
The next 3 days are spent offsite at a scientific writing workshop, run by Drs Margaret Cargill and Kate Cadman from the University of Adelaide. This is an intensive course where the students learn how to write scientific papers and deliver engaging presentations about their work.
Finally, on Day 5, the students will reward ACIAR staff with the presentations they have been preparing during the week.
 

JAF Week 2014 participants with ACIAR CEO Nick Austin.

But it’s not all work. There is plenty of time to play as well. Last night the students and ACIAR staff enjoyed a noisy and delicious dinner in Kingston. And after the presentations on Friday the students will be taken on a tour of Canberra. Then it’s back ‘home’ – to their Australian tertiary institutions – to get stuck into their studies.

By Georgina Hickey, ACIAR

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