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Curtin University recognises ag researcher with Partnership Award

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Aidan SmithCountryman
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Dr Julia Easton, left, receives her award from Curtin University vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne.
Camera IconDr Julia Easton, left, receives her award from Curtin University vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne. Credit: supplied/supplied

A senior research fellow at Curtin University’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences has won a coveted award for her significant contributions to Australia’s grains industry.

Julia Easton was recently among a host of recipients at Curtin’s 2023 Research and Engagement Awards, taking home the Partnership Award.

The award acknowledges outstanding research in any discipline that “makes a difference through partnership”.

Curtin deputy vice-chancellor Melinda Fitzgerald said as leader of the Curtin for Agribusiness Profitability (C4AP) Initiative, within the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), Dr Easton had been driving innovative new research aimed at boosting farm profitability and sustainability.

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“Leading the way in a new area of demand-driven research, developing next-generation data analytics for agribusiness, Dr Easton co-designs evidence-based and data-driven decision support tools with farmers and their advisors to optimise profitability and manage risk,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

“Collaborating with farmers and their advisors, technology companies, government departments and researchers from various backgrounds, Dr Easton is harnessing the power of technology and big data analytics to tackle the major challenges facing broadacre agriculture in Australia.”

Dr Easton joined Curtin in 2019 and has since demonstrated her strong leadership in research, securing more than $7 million in grants, and playing a key role in a $92m analytics for the Australian Grains Industry program.

The CCDM nominated her for the award, with a spokesperson for the centre saying her “extensive publications and collaborations” had “strengthened Curtin’s position in the agricultural sector”.

“Her translational impact is evident in projects like the On Farm Experimentation Platform, which she successfully commercialized, and her responsiveness to industry needs underscores her leadership in demand-driven research,” the spokesperson said.

Dr Easton said the award would not have been possible without the mentorship and guidance of her CCDM colleagues.

“Partnerships is at the core of what I do, finding ways of bringing the best out in our researchers and collaborators, and then directing their talent and passion to problems in agriculture,” she said.

“Without the support from the approximately 60 businesses and organisations that we collaborate with, our research would not be as relevant or impactful.

“I am so grateful for the knowledge, time and energy that our partners put into co-innovating our research to make a difference for agriculture in WA.”

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