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Sheep researchers star on international stage

Friday 4th of November 2016
Among the winners of the first year post-graduate training awards for best poster presentation was Maddison Corlett
Among the winners of the first year post-graduate training awards for best poster presentation was Maddison Corlett

The next generation of red meat researchers are being inspired by the success of the sheep industry’s stable of young scientists who are starring on the world stage.

Five Murdoch University scientists were recently chosen to deliver oral presentations, all linked to research they are conducting through the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), at the recent International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition in Krakow, Poland.

Their success is proving to be an inspiration to 20 young post-graduate students, whose studies are sponsored by industry bodies Australian Pork Ltd, Meat and Livestock Australia, and the Sheep CRC, who are this week undertaking an intensive training course in Sydney to help prepare them for long and successful careers in research.

Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said it was highly unusual for an international conference to feature such a large representation from a single organisation, and a testament to the quality of training they had received.

“The team from Murdoch submitted five research papers to the symposium and all five were accepted and their authors offered speaking spots, an honour reserved for only the best of the submissions,” Prof. Rowe said.

“This really highlights the international quality of the research they are undertaking, and the value that the CRC’s Information Nucleus program continues to deliver to industry through our ongoing research activities.”

The International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition is only held once every three years and brings together the world’s leading researchers in the field of energy and protein metabolism in production animals.

The five papers presented were:

  • Dr Fiona Anderson: Using computed tomography to assess the distribution of fat in the lamb carcass
  • Dr Khama Kelman: Production factors can have a larger impact on lamb growth than genetics.
  • Ms Sarah Stewart: How growth breeding values in Merino lambs can be depressed by poor nutrition and other environmental factors
  • Associate Professor David Miller: The effect of altering the starch and fat content of the diet on fertility in breeding ewe lambs
  • Associate Professor Graham Gardner: Intramuscular fat content of the loin as a predictor of its content in other muscles.

Dr Gardner also leads the Sheep CRC’s post-graduate training program, which provides young scientists with professional development in the areas of research, scientific writing and public communication, which ensures they are ready to perform on the world stage.

The current crop of the red meat industry’s post-graduate trainees have this week received guidance from a range of industry leaders including the Sheep CRC’s Prof. Rowe, CRC Meat Program Leader Professor Dave Pethick, and Commercialisation Manager David Faulkner.

Mr Faulkner trained the students on job interview preparation, presentation methods, and communicating research and its relevance to accelerate commercialisation.

Graduate tracking surveys completed between 2009 and 2013 demonstrated that over 70 per cent of postgraduates have since found employment directly within the sheep and cattle industries, and that 90pc had been retained more broadly within agriculture.


Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666.

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