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Research Projects

Following are some current research projects funded by national and international research programs and industry-based organisations.

Current Projects

Current Project
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Related links: 

RiskWi$e website

Project dates: 

Commencing late 2023, due for completion in 2028.

Outputs related to behavioural economics: 

​Coming soon.

RiskWi$e

The National Risk Management Initiative, known as RiskWise, is a 5-year research program that seeks to understand and improve the risk-reward outcomes for Australian grain growers by supporting grower on-farm decision-making.

Our Centre is part of the the behavioural science team that aims to understand grower behaviour change and support adoption.

Our role is to develop and implement research to understand farmers’ approaches to accounting for risk and uncertainty in their decision making and perceived relative importance of risks.

The team will
interview over 100 grain farmers and develop tools, communications and strategies for improved risk-reward decision making and adoption.
 

UWA project lead

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen 

 

Centre researchers

  • Prof David Pannell

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

  • A/Prof Marit Kragt

  • A/Prof Ben White

Funding

The project is funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) through a sub contract with CSIRO.

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Related links: 

MLA - BeefLinks

Media Release - about the project

Media Release - how to get involve

Project dates: 

Commencing late 2021, due for completion in 2024.

Outputs related to economics: 

Project Flyer

Black, E., Sheikh, A., Rola-Rubzen, M.F. Dempster, F. and Harold, T. (2022). Supply Chain Map of the WA Beef Supply Chain, Beeflinks Project (P.PSH.1262), Meat and Livestock Australia and The University of Western Australia, Perth.

BeefLinks

BeefLinks is a four-year research partnership that aims to drive an integrated and complementary R&D program for northern and southern production systems across WA to achieve profitable, consistent and sustainable beef yields matched to consumer expectations.  The program brings together producers, researchers, businesses and state agencies to develop a greater understanding of opportunities to enhance productivity and value along the red meat supply chain.

 

Our centre is involved in two of the eight projects; 

 

- Producer insights for adoption outcomes across WA BeefLinks (see project flier)

 

- Understanding feedlot performance and eating quality of beef cattle sourced from rangelands through the WA Supply chain

 

Both project involve interviewing beef producers and supply chain actors to better understand the WA beef supply chain in the northern production system (see map) and to contribute to many deliverables under the BeefLinks Program.

UWA Program Leader:

  • Professor Phil Vercoe

Centre researchers

  • Dr Fiona Dempster (Project Leader)

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

  • A/Prof Marit Kragt

  • Dr Amin Mugera

  • Dr Abbie Rogers

  • Dr Asjad Sheikh

  • Ms Tammie Harold

  • Mr Curtis Rollins

  • Ms Montana Bradley

Beeflinks is a large collaborative project that involves researchers from across UWA and significant industry engagement.  

Funding:

This project is funded by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) through their Research & Development program.

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Related links: 

Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society & Technology

Project dates: 

Commencing late 2023, due for completion in 2028.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

ARC Training Centre for Behavioural Insights for Technology Adoption (BITA)

Australia needs accelerated adoption of innovation technologies to improve outcomes in health, agriculture and cybersecurity. Despite technically viable solutions, innovations fail to be adopted due to behavioural barriers. Behavioural approaches can promote significant gains by bridging the barriers to technology adoption. BITA will boost national productivity by identifying, designing and evaluating solutions that address these barriers. By uniting industry and government with world-leading interdisciplinary researchers, this Centre will build transformative capability in people, data and solutions and support Australian organisations to achieve higher returns on technology investment.

UWA project Lead:

  • A/Prof Marit Kragt

Centre researchers

  • Professor Steve Schilizzi

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

  • A/Prof Ben White

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

 

This is a collaboration between 3 universities (Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland and UWA) and many industry partners including Clear Grain Exchange, Dairy Australia the Grower Group Alliance, Livestock Pricing, and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Funding:

This project is funded by Australian Research Council and 19 industry partners.

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Project website: 

https://farmerbehaviourinsights.org/

Related links: 

ACIAR project website

 

Project dates: 

Commenced in 2018, due for completion in 2023.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Das, K.K., Ghosh, A., Bhattacharya, P.M., Dhar, T., Chowdhury, A., Rola-Rubzen, M.F., Gathala, M. and Tiwari, T.P.  2021, ‘Determinants of Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (CASI) outscaling – a study in Coochbehar district of West Bengal, India, Agricultural Economics Research Review 2021 34(2), 193-205. 

Paz, B., Hailu, A., Rola-Rubzen, M.F. and Rashid, M.M. (2023). Does Conservation Agriculture-based Sustainable Intensification Improve Farming Efficiency: The Case of Bangladesh. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Rola-Rubzen, M.F., Murray-Prior, R., Doll, C., Rollins, C. and Sarmiento, J.M. (2022). Socioeconomic consequences of soil constraints, Chapter 23 in Soil Constraints on Crop Production, Dang, Y., Menzies, N., and Dalal, R. (eds.) Cambridge Scholars Publishing, New Castle upon Tyne.

Ghimire, Y.N., Timsina, K.P. Adhikari, S.P., Shrestha, K.P., Gairhe, S., Acharya, Y, Devkota, D., Upadhyay, N., Kharel, M., Poudel, H., Murray-Prior, R.M. and Rola-Rubzen, M.F. (2021). Behavioural science principles for scaling-up zero tillage wheat and maize in the Eastern Terai region of Nepal. Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources 4(2), 316-326.

Farmer Behaviour Insights Project (Enhancing farm-household management decision-making for increased productivity in the Eastern Gangetic Plains)

This project evaluates the value of behavioural economics in understanding decision making by farm women and men, and use these behavioural insights to design/re-design, test and assess selected interventions in agricultural extension, input provision and agricultural service delivery in the Eastern Gangetic Plains.  Bangladesh, India and Nepal have invested in research on conservation agriculture to help improve the lives of farmers and the productivity and health of their land. Yet, the uptake has been low.  By taking a people-centred approach, the team is looking at what supports positive change and what is likely to be effective in nudging smallholder farmers to adopt new practices like conservation agriculture.

UWA project Lead:

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

Centre researchers

  • Dr Hue Thi Vuong

  • Claire Doll

  • Sofina Maharjan

  • Jon Marx Sarmiento

  • Curtis Rollins

  • Tammie Harold

  • Bruno Paz

This is a UWA-led consortium of partners, including RDRS Bangladesh, Rajshahi University, University of New England, Bihar Agricultural University, Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Nepal Agricultural Research Council and others.

Funding:

This project is funded by the Australian Centre International Agricultural Research. 

ACIAR_intercropping.jpg

Related links: 

ACIAR project webpage

Project dates: 

Commencing late 2023, due for completion in 2028.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

Additive intercropping in wide row crops for resilient crop production in Bangladesh, Bhutan and eastern India

Wide-row, additive intercropping offers numerous potential benefits including increased cropping system productivity and profitability; water, labour and energy-use efficiencies; improved household nutrition and food security; women empowerment; and, in the long term, increased soil health. However, to date, there is a paucity of research into wide-row, additive intercropping (as distinct from traditional replacement intercropping) in South Asian agro-ecologies. To successfully and sustainably integrate wide-row, additive intercropping into farmers’ cropping systems, a range of challenges must first  be resolved, including optimal agronomic management and geometry, household- and farm-scale implications, and potential off-farm bottlenecks.

This project will identify options for smallholder farmers to sustainably intensify wide-row crop production through the addition of short-duration, high-value intercrop species. The focus is on intensification of wide-row planted crops: primarily dry (rabi) season maize in Bangladesh, eastern India and Bhutan. Other potential main crops will also be considered to examine whether additive intercropping is possible where crops are grown in wide-row spacings and with relatively cool temperatures. While the primary focus of this project is on sustainably improving cropping system productivity, the effects of wide-row, additive intercropping at the smallholder farm level will be considered, including potential food and nutrition benefits for the household.

UWA project Lead:

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

Centre researchers

  • Dr Jon Marx Sarmiento

  • Tammie Harold

This is a large collaborative project that involves researchers from across and outside the UWA.  

Funding:

This project is funded by the Australian Centre International Agricultural Research through CIMMYT

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Related links: 

ACIAR project website

Project dates: 

Commencing late 2022, due for completion in 2027.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

Agricultural Innovations for Communities - Intensified and Diverse Farming Systems for Timor-Leste (AI-Com 2)

This project aims to improve food security, including labour use efficiency, and resilience of agricultural systems in Timor-Leste to meet the livelihood needs of rural householders and it focuses on the scaling and adoption pathways of technologies and knowledge developed in Al-Com 1.

UWA project Lead:

  • Dr Louise Barton

Centre researchers

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

The project is led by the University of Western Australia with several research partner organisations, including Monash University and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Funding:

This project is funded by the Australian Centre International Agricultural Research. 

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Project Website:

https://www.dungbeetles.com.au/

Project dates: 

Commenced 2018, due for completion in 2022.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

Dung Beetles Ecosystem Engineers

The DBEE project investigates how dung beetles can improve profitability and productivity for primary producers. The information can be used by livestock producers and policy makers to make informed decisions regarding the adoption of dung beetles on-farm and importation of new dung beetle species.

UWA project Lead:

  • A/Prof Theo Evans

Centre researchers

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

  • A/Prof Ben White

  • Cheryl Day

The project is a collaboration between agricultural industry organisations and researchers. The economic research is being conducted by UWA.  

Funding:

This project is funded by Australia Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources through Meat and Livestock Australia. 

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Project Website:

https://www.crchoneybeeproducts.com/

Related links: 

CRC Honey Bee Products Facebook Page

Media Release: Researchers abuzz over World Bee Day celebrations

Project dates: 

Commenced in 2017 and completed in 2022.

Outputs related to economics: 

White, B. and Day, C. (2022). The economic value of honey bee flora in Western Australia (Final report).

 

Day, C. and White, B. (2022). A survey dataset to better understand the honey bee industry, use and value of natural resources and challenges for beekeepers in Western Australia: A beekeepers’ perspective

 

Day, C. and White, B. (2022). Dataset and Survey for the Natural Resources for Beekeepers Questionnaire (Western Australia) 2020-21.

CRC Honey Bee Products

Endemic and unique flora, together with regulated isolation, has created the opportunity to produce rare and valuable honey bee products from healthy bees, and develop a niche market. This federally funded Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has four research programs that aim to resolve industry problems that limit both the value and expansion of the Australian honey bee products industry.

 

Our centre is undertaking a project ‘The “bee credit” to value bee native bush hive sites in Western Australia”, under the Honey Bee Hive Sites research program. This research aims to increase the understanding of the economics of honey production and pollination in Western Australia. Through the design of a novel questionnaire migratory, hobbyist and backyard beekeepers have provided reliable information about the industry, and determinants of profitability. In valuing the ecosystem service provided by the state’s endemic native vegetation, the costs from land use change, and the logging, clearing and fires can also be measured as losses to commercial beekeepers. 

UWA project Lead:

  • Associate Professor Bryan Boruff

Centre researchers

  • A/Prof Ben White

  • Ms Cheryl Day

This is a large collaborative project that involves researchers from across and outside the UWA.  

Funding:

This project was funded by CRC for Honey Bee Products under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Programme.

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Project website: 

https://www.bsfwastetoprofit.com/ 

Project dates: 

Commenced in 2019, due for completion in 2023.

Final Report:

Closing the loop: Black Soldier Fly technology to convert agriculture waste. Final Report Summary. University of Western Australia.

Outputs related to economics: 

Closing the loop: Black Soldier Fly technology to convert agriculture waste

This project is exploring the use of Black Soldier Flies (BSF) to turn livestock wastes into useful products.  The overall objective is to develop high quality soil conditioners and fertilisers from manures and other wastes though innovative technologies using BSF - a non-invasive, non-pest fly species for waste management.  It is exploring how BSF technology can provide a sustainable pathway for waste management and enable primary industries to increase productivity and profitability by generating new products, revenue streams, and markets whilst reducing on-farm operational costs associated with waste management and fertiliser availability.

UWA project leads

  • Dr Sasha Jenkins

  • A/Prof Marit Kragt

Centre researchers

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

  • Dr Vandana Subroy

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

  • Audrey Tascon

  • Tammie Harold

This is a collaboration between researchers from various disciplines at UWA.  The research is being conducted by UWA in conjunction with Australian Pork Limited, Dairy Australia, Agrifutures Australia, Australian Eggs, Australian Meat Processing Corporation, Future Green Solutions, QLD DAF, and other industry partners.

Funding

The project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources through Australian Pork Limited.

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Related links: 

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative

 

Project dates: 

Commenced June 2020, due for completion in March 2022.

Outputs related to economics: 

Yes, no, maybe – getting value from herbicide resistance testing

Paddock level herbicide resistance management for farmers and agronomists

The project aims to demonstrate the value to farmers through a novel research method, comparing actual test results of paddock weed samples to the farmers perception of their weed resistance status for wild radish, annual ryegrass, capeweed, barley grass and brome grass.  By having both actual test results and the farmers perception, researchers, farmers and agronomists are able to work together to ensure a full understanding of the resistance testing results and value of testing.

UWA project Lead:

  • Dr Roberto Busi

Centre researchers

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

  • Dr Rick Llewellyn (adjunct)

This is a joint project between UWA and CSIRO

Funding:

This project is funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation.

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Related links: 

ANU project page

ACIAR project page

Project dates: 

Commencing in 2021, due for completion in 2023.

Outputs related to economics: 

Rola-Rubzen, M.F., Vuong, H.T., Doll, C., Rollins, C., Sarmiento, J.M., Alam, M.J., and Begum, I.A. (2023). Gender and Rural Transformation: A Systematic Literature Review, Journal of Integrative Agriculture (In press) (Q1, JIF: 4.8)

Understanding the drivers of successful and inclusive rural regional transformation: sharing experiences and policy advice in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Pakistan

The aim of this project is to understand the nature, drivers and consequences of rural transformation in order to design changes in the institutions, policies and investments (IPIs) which support success.

 

This project will investigate not only the underlying determinants of the stages, speeds and outcomes of rural transformation but also the impacts of IPIs on all three elements and the successful rural transformation in the four countries, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia, and involves sharing experiences and policy advice.

 

UWA project Lead:

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

Centre researchers:

  • Dr Hue Thi Vuong

The project is led by the Australian National University with several research partner organisations, including UWA.

Funding:

This project is funded by the Australian Centre International Agricultural Research. 

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Related links: 

ACIAR website​

UWA Institute of Agriculture – Newsletter, December 2022, page 4.

Project dates: 

Commencing in 2021, due for completion in 2022.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

Impact of Covid-19 on Vegetable Producers: the Case of Cauliflower and Broccoli Farmers in the Municipality of Aileu, Timor-Leste

The overall aim of this project is to understand the extent the COVID-19 pandemic has affected men and
women in producing and marketing cauliflower and Broccoli to the main markets in Dili.  The study will examine how vegetable farmers in Aileu can better deal with issues caused by Covid-19 and offer potential solutions, recommendations and lessons learned.

 

UWA project Lead:

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

This project is led by the University of New England in collaboration with the National University of Timor Lorosa'e and UWA.

Funding:

This project is funded by the Australian Centre International Agricultural Research through ACIAR Alumni Research Support Facility. 

Completed Projects 

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Selected outputs: 

  • Meier, E.A., Thorburn, P., Kragt, M.E., Dumbrell, N.P., Biggs, J.S., Hoyle, F.S. & van Rees, H. (2017). Greenhouse gas abatement on southern Australian grains farms: biophysical potential and financial impacts. Agricultural Systems, 155: 147–157. 

  • Bryan, B.A., Runting R.K., Capon, T., Perring, M.P., Cunningham, S.C, Kragt, M.E., Nolan, M., Law, E.A., Renwick, A., Eber, S., Christian, R. & Wilson, K. (2016). Designer policy for carbon and biodiversity co-benefits under global change. Nature Climate Change, 6: 301–305.

  • Dumbrell, N., Kragt, M., Gibson, F. (2016). What carbon farming activities are farmers likely to adopt? A best-worst scaling survey. Land Use Policy, 54, pp. 29-37.

  • Dumbrell, N.P., Kragt, M.E., Meier, E.A., Biggs, J.S. & Thorburn, P.J. (2017). Greenhouse gas abatement costs are heterogeneous between Australian grain farms. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 37(4): 28.

  • Kragt, M.E., Pannell, D.J., Robertson, M.J. & Thamo, T. (2012) Assessing costs of soil carbon sequestration by croplivestock farmers in Western Australia, Agricultural Systems, 112, 27-37.

  • Kragt, M., Gibson, F., Maseyk, F., Wilson, K. A. (2016). Public willingness to pay for carbon farming and its cobenefits. Ecological Economics, 126, pp. 125-131. Ma, C., Rogers, A., Kragt, M., Zhang, F., Polyakov, M., Gibson, F., Chalak Haghighi, M., Pandit, R., Tapsuwan, S. (2015). Consumers' willingness to pay for renewable energy: A metaregression analysis. Resource and Energy Economics, 42, pp. 93-109.

Climate Change mitigation in agriculture

Our Centre specialises in providing research knowledge on carbon farming, greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy options, climate change impacts and farm-level adaptation of new agricultural technologies. We have built a body of work in close collaboration with UWA's Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy. We also engage in policy debate, reviews and commentary through blogs and publications. 

Centre researchers

  • A/Prof Marit Kragt

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

  • Professor David Pannell

Our staff have been working in this area of research over the last two decades, including funded and unfunded projects as well as student research  projects.

For example, Professor David Pannell has invested significant amount of research time into Australia's system of carbon credits. He recently prepared a submission to the independent inquiry currently underway on the scheme. If interested, a summary of the submission is provided at Pannell Discussion #383, and there are two highly related discussions at #371 and #374 on soil carbon policy.

Funding:

We are currently looking for new funding opportunities. 

Completed Projects

Completed Projects

2020

Sustainable and resilient farming systems intensification in the eastern Gangetic Plains (‘SRFSI’)

This ACIAR-funded project, led by CIMMYT, aimed to reduce poverty in the Eastern Gangetic Plains by improving productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder farmers while safeguarding the environment. UWA was one of the research collaborators and Dr Fay Rola-Rubzen led a team of social scientists in understanding farmers’ risk behaviour and how it affected their adoption of CASI technologies. Using mixed-methods approaches, Dr Fay Rola-Rubzen and researchers from CIMMYT, CSIRO, and various partners in Nepal, Bangladesh and India also examined the socio-economic impacts of conservation agriculture technologies among men and women farmers in the Eastern Gangetic Plains of South Asia. She also led the gender mainstreaming efforts in the project.

2019

Local crowdfunding for a low-emission society

This project, funded by The Research Council of Norway, was led by Dr Pia Otte at Ruralis (The Institute for Rural and Regional Research) in Trondheim. A/Prof Marit Kragt was one of the international partners on this project, which explored the potential to use crowdfunding as an alternative source of funding for climate change mitigation in the agricultural sector. This research finished in 2021, with publications forthcoming. https://coolcrowd.no/en/

2019

Benefits, costs and risks of soil amelioration

Professor David Pannell and Dr Fiona Dempster were contracted by the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to develop a conceptual framework for the benefits, costs and risks from soil amelioration approaches in the western region to support Grower understanding and adoption decisions. As part of this research, Professor David Pannell presented “A stock take of knowledge on soil amelioration tools” at the GRDC Grains Research Update on 26th February, 2019.

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