Monthly Archives: March 2013

Debate wrap up: Cutting Australia’s meat consumption by half would be better for us and the planet

On Thursday the 21st of March, more than 150 people attended one of our more controversial debates on whether Australians should reduce their meat consumption. For more information on the topic and speakers, please refer to our previous posts on the debate.

In our closest debate ever, the negative team were announced winners by our moderator, Dr Paul Wills, Director of the RiAus, after converting a pre-debate vote of 68% for the affirmative and 32% to the negative into a vote of 67% for the affirmative and 33% for the negative.

The Waite Research Institute would like to thank all involved in making our debate a success.

To listen to the debate please click here (approx 1.1 hour, 22 Mb, mp3 format)

To see a collection of tweets from the debate, click here

Debate: Announcing our speakers for “Cutting Australia’s meat consumption by half will be better for us and the planet”

With only one week to go until our next Debate @ The Waite on “Cutting Australia’s meat consumption by half will be better for us and the planet“, the Waite Research Institute is pleased to announce our speakers for the event. For more information on the debate topic, please see our earlier post here.

Speaking for the affirmative team we have:

  • Professor Randy Stringer, Agriculture & Food Policy, Global Food Studies Group, School of Economics at the University of Adelaide
  • Professor John Crawford, Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainable Agriculture, The University of Sydney
  • Professor John Coveney, Professor Public Health and Associate Dean in the School of Medicine, Flinders University

Speaking for the negative we have:

Our moderator will once again be Dr Paul Willis, Director of the RiAus.

When: Thursday 21 March 2013, 6.00 pm – 8.30 pm
Where: Lirra Lirra Cafe, Waite Road, Waite Campus

Finger food provided. A cash bar will be open throughout the event.

Admission is free, but prior registration is essential as seats are strictly limited.
To register to attend the event go to

To join the debate on Twitter, follow @waiteresearch and use the hashtag #agchatoz

Historic expansion of animal & crop research on Waite Centenary

Story orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Wednesday 6 March, 2013

The largest expansion of university-based research into animal and crop health and production in Australian history has been outlined by the University of Adelaide today.

Investing more than $50 million from its endowment, the University will create six new research professorships at its Waite and Roseworthy Campuses, a new animal research centre at Roseworthy, new postdoctoral fellowships, and purchase new research equipment.

“These initiatives will make a major contribution to international research in agriculture and animal production, and confirm Adelaide as the leading centre for animal and agricultural research in Australia,” says University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Warren Bebbington.

“Its now a century since Peter Waite made his extraordinary gift of his Urrbrae estate to the University. Today Waite is the focus for key major research organisations, and we wish to help the Waite achieve global prominence as an agricultural science research consortium. Not since Peter Waite have we seen an investment even close to this magnitude for agricultural science research in this country.”

The funds come from investment of the gifts of two benefactors, JAT Mortlock and JS Davies, whose express wishes were to support these fields. “We are extremely proud to be able to honour their memories in a way that will not only support South Australia’s farming community, but also address global issues of food security and climate change adaptation,” says Professor Bebbington.

At Roseworthy Campus the University will establish:

– The JS Davies Animal Research Centre – building on existing strengths with a focus on production, global food security, biosecurity and animal welfare;
– Two professorships – the JS Davies Chair in Animal Health and the JS Davies Chair in Animal Production – to take leading roles in the new Centre and including research equipment and research infrastructure and post-doctoral research and technical support staff.

These two new professorships will supplement the existing JS Davies Chair in the area of epigenetics and genetics.

At Waite Campus the University will establish:

– The JAT Mortlock Chair in Agricultural, Horticultural and Pastoral Science, who will also be Director of the Waite Research Institute;
– Three professorships – the JAT Mortlock Chairs in Plant Stress, Crop Protection and Crop Improvement – supported by research staff in crop epigenetics, stress response biology, plant-pest interactions, genetics of resistance, reproductive biology and crop performance.

“Developing here in Australia a critical mass of specialist researchers in these fields will help to transform international animal and crop production and health, as the world faces more volatile climates,” says Professor Bebbington.

Professor Bebbington highlighted the impact that philanthropic giving can have on university research. “We take donor intentions very seriously, because philanthropy can make a major contribution to the University’s ability to develop research for the growth of the economy of our state and nation,” he says.

I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here!

IAS Australia Logo April 2011 (FINAL)

Between the 11th and the 22nd of March, 15 scientists in 3 ‘zones’ will be battling for a $1000 prize. And they will face the toughest judges in the world: school children.

I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here! is a reality show-inspired activity that gets school children talking to scientists using blogs and moderated instant messaging chats.

The event is supported by teaching resources that develop students’ inquiry and communication skills, deepens their understanding of science and relates strongly to the ‘Science as Human Endeavour’ topic within the Australian National Science Curriculm.

Scientists who have participated in the program report that the experience develops their communication skills and re-energises them about their own research.

More than 1600 students from across Australia are taking part in this I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! Originally conceived in the UK, the program is now in it’s fourth year in Australia.


Associate Professor Brent Kaiser

For the first time, there will be an ‘Agriculture’ zone in the program. Associate Professor Brent Kaiser, (pictured right) from the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, will be going head to head with four other agricultural scientists, including Chief Scientist with ABARES, Dr Kim Ritman.

To stay in touch with the program, look for updates on the I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here! webpage or follow @IASAus on Twitter. We wish Brent all the best and may he be the last scientist standing!