Research Projects

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

Current Projects

 
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Project website: 

https://www.bsfwastetoprofit.com/ 

Project dates: 

Commenced in 2019, due for completion in 2023.

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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Project website: 

https://farmerbehaviourinsights.org/

Related links: 

ACIAR project website

 

Project dates: 

Commenced in 2018, due for completion in 2022.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

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.  

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Related links: 

MLA - BeefLinks

Media Release

Project Flyer

Project dates: 

Commencing late 2021, due for completion in 2024.

Outputs related to economics: 

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 specific project is related to identifying risks across the beef supply chain, identifying barriers to adoption of new management practices to optimise production and minimise risk, and, maximising the cost-effectiveness of new management actions to optimise feed utilisation and reduce feed wastage during transition periods (see project flier).

UWA project Lead:

  • Professor Phil Vercoe

Centre researchers

  • Dr Fiona Dempster 

  • A/Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen

  • A/Prof Marit Kragt

  • Dr Amin Mugera

  • Dr Abbie Rogers

  • Ms Tammie Harold

  • Dr Jonelle Cleland

  • Dr Asjad Sheikh

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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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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Related links: 

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative

 

Project dates: 

Commenced June 2020, due for completion in March 2022.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

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: 

Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society & Technology

Project dates: 

Commencing 2022

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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Related links: 

ANU project page

ACIAR project page

Project dates: 

Commencing in 2021, due for completion in 2023.

Outputs related to economics: 

​Coming soon.

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

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.

Funding:

We are currently looking for new funding opportunities. 

 

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.