Growing the STEM of Agriculture

Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry. But, its workforce is not realising its potential. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals are in demand within the Australian agriculture sector. The problem is a lack of knowledge about how to best attract new STEM talent into the industry and also keep the skilled talent already in the field. A solution is to develop more effective strategies to boost their careers within this vital industry

USQ and ACCELL PhD researcher, Kristen Lovric, is using different perspectives focused on agriculturalists’ beliefs, feelings and needs, and how their work and organisations contribute to their intentions to persist in their careers. We know that agriculturalists–Soil and Plant Scientists, Agronomists, Plant Pathologists, Entomologists, Research Assistants, Precision Agriculture Technicians, Laboratory Technicians, Agricultural Engineers and Biostatisticians, just to name a few–are crucial to agriculture’s future. How can we support their careers?

We will donate $1 to Rural Aid (up to the value of $300) for every STEM professional in agriculture who complete a 15-minute online survey about their careers.  This survey will inform how we address the big challenge of boosting STEM professionals’ careers in agriculture.

If you’re a STEM professional in agriculture then please click here:

If you know a STEM professional in agriculture then please share our page and encourage them to complete the survey.

You can follow Kristen’s research journey on Twitter here: @LovricKristen

Veterinary Practitioners’ Career and Wellbeing

Working within the veterinary industry is not for the feint-hearted. Despite the perception that veterinary professionals get to play with cute puppies and kittens all day, the reality is very different.  Veterinarians endure high levels of work stress and their profession has one of the higher rates of suicide—about four times higher than the general population and twice as likely as other health professionals.  Put another way, this rate equates to roughly one every 12 weeks (Hamilton, 2016).  Despite the pressures of the profession, it can be as rewarding and personally satisfying as any other.  My research focused on developing supportive strategies for veterinary practitioners to enhance their work engagement and well-being. Continue reading “Veterinary Practitioners’ Career and Wellbeing”


An innovative industry needs an innovative workforce.  With its reputation for advanced technology and continuous innovation, the Australian cotton industry draws on the expertise of a range of workers, including on-farm workers and contractors, agronomists and consultants, and research scientists, to name a few.  Yet, there is the very real potential for disruptive new technologies to demand changes to workforce profiles of the industry. This challenge raises the question, what is the expertise—the personal strengths, knowledge, skills—that the future workforce needs to maintain and improve the cotton industry’s strong production outputs in a competitive market?

ACCELL and CRDC postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Nicole McDonald, is researching and developing practical strategies to support the cotton industry to attract and develop the next generation of expert workers. Continue reading “THE COTTON INDUSTRY – NEXT GENERATION”