Cultivating Innovation in Australian Horticulture
26 Mar 2017
Sir Winston Churchill famously referred to gardening as the ‘natural occupation of man’ – and from this year new Fellowships are to be offered in his name to encourage innovation within Australia's horticulture industry.
Under a new partnership with Horticulture Innovation Australia, three Churchill Fellowships will be offered per year over the next four years that guarantee recipients access to the Australian industry to discuss and share their projects.
Churchill Fellowships enable ordinary Australians to travel the world to access knowledge not readily available in Australia, harnessing it and growing the nation’s collective knowledge by sharing it.
Some of Australia’s foremost horticulturalists are Churchill Fellows including long-time Gardening Australia host Peter Cundall, citrus grower and expert Ian Tolley and rose petal industry pioneer Sarah Sammon to name only a few.
“As an industry, horticulture represents an important contributor to our nation’s economy, and the Trust is excited to see how these Fellowships can impact Australia,” said Churchill Trust CEO Mr Adam Davey.
“There are two things every Churchill Fellowship applicant needs to display – the first is to present a research project that will provide benefit to the Australian community.
“The second is showing how all of the skills, insights and knowledge they gather from world experts on the Fellowship can be shared once they return home.”
Mr Davey said that the Churchill Trust is looking for Australians with even just a seed of an idea, to apply for these new Fellowships that are designed to drive innovation and transformation in the horticulture industry.
Horticulture Innovation Australia is one of the nation’s 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations, focused on supporting primary producers and growing the future productivity and profitability of Australia’s fruit, vegetable, nut, plant and tree industries.
Hort Innnovation chief executive, John Lloyd, said the organisation’s investment in these sought-after Fellowship opportunities form part of its biggest industry leadership drive in history.
“In the face of an ageing horticultural industry and a fast-moving technological landscape, we are rolling out a host of tailored development opportunities for growers, and this is one not to be missed,” he said.
Mr Lloyd said the industry has never been so diverse and exciting, and he expects to see a host of creative and well-considered applications for the Churchill Fellowship award.
A study commissioned by Hort Innovation in 2015 suggested the industry outperforms the average business in Australia when it comes to innovation – with almost 80 per cent of horticultural producers reporting some form of innovation, whether it was new to the farm or new to the industry.
Apply now for a 2017 Churchill Fellowship, applications close 28 April 2017.