‘Refreshing, invigorating and inspiring’ – AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholars share their insights from evokeAG.


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GRDC staff and Horizon Scholars

The AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship exposes students to alternative career pathways in agriculture, presents Scholars with industry networking events and encourages innovative work placements. This February, as part of the program, five Scholars attended Australia’s largest agrifood tech event of the year, evokeAG.

Zac Gallagher from the University of Queensland, Jessica Capps and Charlie Bergmeier from the University of New England, University of Sydney’s Eli Lim  and University of Southern Queensland’s Matthew Burge attended the two-day evokeAG event in Melbourne. This professional development opportunity was coordinated in conjunction with their sponsor, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

evokeAG connects leaders, farmers, innovators, researchers and investors together to collaborate, share and explore new directions for the next generation of food and farming. The theme of the event, ‘Collaborative thinking to change the future’ was a strong link with our ongoing collaboration with GRDC where we work to invest in students to become the next generation of future young leaders.

AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholar Jessica Capps enjoyed the chance to connect with her fellow Scholars as well as create new networks.

“My number one highlight was being able to connect with so many bright and enthusiastic people in a setting that encourages collaboration and the ignition of powerful ideas regarding the future of our food in an ever changing world,” said Ms Capps.

evokeAG provided Charlie Bergmeier with an insight into the latest technology and ideas shaping the agricultural industry.

“The event provided opportunities to network with industry leaders and professionals. It was truly a worthwhile, enjoyable and educational experience,” said Mr Bergmeier.

Their words echoed the sentiments of Eli Lim. Ms Lim also highlighted the success of the evokeAG event app.

“By using the event app, I was able to tailor the conference to my interests prior to arriving in Melbourne. The event left me feeling refreshed, invigorated and inspired. I particularly liked the concept of Braindate. I was able to set-up a Braindate and connect with an industry professional in the field of water savings, an area related to my Honours study,” said Ms Lim.

Zac Gallagher insisted GRDC’s ongoing support of the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship meant four passionate future young leaders in the ag space were exposed to long-term innovation and competitive strategy.

“It appears that there is a shift within the domestic agriculture sector to pivot into technology through promoting start-ups, regional entrepreneurship, adopting lean organisational structures and VC capital raising. The experience left me motivated, walking away thinking how Australia can be globally competitive and recognised as a unique, agricultural innovation hub,” said Mr Gallagher.

GRDC Corporate Affairs Officer, Tegan Nock said evokeAG. was the melting pot of ideas and solutions.

“It was an absolute highlight seeing Australia’s talent and ingenuity in agtech on display. It was fantastic to see the GRDC Scholars meeting with leaders from across the agricultural industry, discussing topics and seeing first-hand how the industry operates across all levels.

“Investment into the next generation of growers, scientists, engineers and agribusiness professionals is an integral part of building capacity across the agricultural sector. To enable the grains industry to be vibrant and productive it is vitally important that we continue to support and provide opportunities to eager minds. The GRDC sees the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship program as an opportunity to encourage some of the best and brightest from our universities to find their path within the grains industry, providing them exposure to real-world research, production, and business placements,” said Ms Nock.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to supporting the next generation of rural leaders and will welcome a new cohort of AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholars into the program with the successful applicants scheduled to be announced in May 2019.

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