Soil CRC celebrates women in science

| Posted Feb 11,2021

Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we are here to celebrate the important contribution that women and girls make to science across the world, including in the Soil CRC!

The Soil CRC has a very strong group of female scientists working on research projects across Australia and New Zealand.

We have female soil scientists, social scientists, biochemists and environmental chemists (among others) and women scientists can be found working in our farmer groups, our state agencies, our universities and industry organisations.

We are proud that one of our Programs and six of our Soil CRC research projects are led by women:

Investing in High Performance Soils (Program One) – Catherine Allan
Surveying Farm Practices – Hanabeth Luke
What Drives farmer decisions – Hanabeth Luke
Smelling Soil – Shane Powell
Improving pesticide delivery efficiency – Yanju Liu
Regenerative Farming Systems – Gwen Grelet
Building Technical Capacity – Felicity Harrop

So, lets shine the spotlight on two of our female scientists.

Amanda Schapel is a soil scientist with Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia.

“I think women can bring a different way to look at scientific findings and how they fit the bigger picture. I love pulling together data, new and old, and looking at it in new ways, exploring different ideas, and trying to understand how it fits in with what we think we know.

I love being able to take this information and discuss it with others, particularly farmers, to get their ideas and build on how this affects their management systems, soil and productivity.

I also love working with school kids to get them to see that science isn’t just a worksheet, it is full of wonder and the best thing is, you don’t make a mistake if you get something wrong, it is an opportunity to learn something new,” she says.

Dr Hanabeth Luke leads two projects at the Soil CRC and is a senior lecturer and researcher at Southern Cross University. This is why she loves being a scientist at the Soil CRC.

“It’s such an exciting space to be working in, where farmers, landscapes and science come together. I really enjoy working with the regional farming systems groups and, when the surveys come in, hearing from the farmers themselves about what they’re doing on their farms, along with their challenges, aspirations and plans for the future.

As a mother, it’s satisfying to know that the work we’re doing has the potential to make a real difference for the future of Australia,” she says.

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

Diversity in research expands the pool of talented researchers, bringing in fresh perspectives, talent and creativity. This Day reminds us that women play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

That’s worth celebrating.