University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Professor Craig Baillie has been awarded a 2019 Fulbright Scholar Award to identify game-changing technology developments and strengthen collaborative research opportunities between Australia and the USA. The prestigious scholarship, awarded through the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, will allow Professor Craig to spend four months based at College Station, Texas in 2019, working with Texas A&M University and other research institutions.

Professor Baillie, Director of USQ’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering, has been focussing his research efforts on automation in agriculture, including an emerging array of agricultural technologies such as sensors, machine learning analytics and robotics that will inform future opportunities to improve on-farm productivity and profitability. His Fellowship will build on identifying research gaps needed to facilitate the next generation of technologies, as well as deepening relationships with current research partners including Texas A&M University, Iowa State University and John Deere.

“The aim of this Fellowship is to identify game-changing technology developments that will lead to the next revolution in agriculture and identify collaborative research opportunities with US-based research partners that will make this happen,” Professor Baillie said. “The potential impacts of the implementation of digital technologies in agriculture on the Australian economy is estimated to be more than $20 billion.”

Professor Baillie observes that to a large extent, Australian farmers are reliant on agricultural technologies developed in other parts of the world and in particular the USA. Although Australian farmers are highly innovative and regarded as early adopters of technology, Australian agriculture is often the recipient at the end of the technology pipeline. Professor Baillie said there was an opportunity to reverse this scenario by developing and incubating new technologies in Australia for a global market. “This scholarship will allow me to review and assess current research and emerging technologies being undertaken by US research institutions and appraise how well these technologies are targeted to meet future needs,” Professor Craig said.

Readers also enjoyed this story about a new Storm King Dam pipeline.