Advance the Food and Beverage Industry in South Australia on a Churchill Fellowship

Media release prepared by Julia Quantrill, Churchill Trust

Promo Header Susan V Nelle AU

A new Churchill Fellowship is being offered this year in the name of Dr Susan Nelle, to honour the exceptional contribution she made to the food and beverage industry and higher education in South Australia.

Supported by Food South Australia and the University of Adelaide, this award is a great opportunity for a South Australian to travel the world in her name, to access knowledge not readily available in Australia, harnessing it and growing the nations collective knowledge by sharing it.

“Susan forged joint industry-government engagement focused on openness, mutual respect, integrity and a commitment towards shared values and development outcomes,” said Craig Johns Associate Director Agribusiness Innovation at the University of Adelaide, “and we want to see someone taking this successful industry forward like Susan did.”

Susan was appointed as Executive Director of Food for the Future (later renamed Food South Australia) in 1999, where she created a genuine industry-government partnership aimed at stimulating growth within the food industry through innovation, regional food and market development programs.

Susan’s approach was based on the concept of harnessing the expertise of leading food companies to partner with government to drive growth in the food industry.

“Susan fostered a commitment to excellence and achievement and brought courage to her role in challenging traditional thinking and the rigid structures within government and industry,” Mr Johns said.

Susan regularly travelled to rural areas such as the Barossa Valley to engage, inspire, and give voice to emerging regional food groups and artisan producers. She introduced the Premier’s Food Awards in 1999 to recognise and foster excellence throughout the industry. And she was instrumental in establishing The Food Export Centre in the premises of Business SA.

Some of South Australia’s leading food producers are Churchill Fellows including paddock to plate pioneer Colin Beer and more recently cheese maker Gina Dal Santo who is presently seeking to establish an academy for cheese making in Adelaide.

“As an industry, the high-quality regional food and wine produced in South Australia already has a strong reputation in Australian and is an important contributor to the state economy, and the Trust is excited to see how this Fellowship can take it in even more impressive directions,” said CEO of the Churchill Trust Mr Adam Davey.

“There are only two prerequisites for a Churchill Fellowship – the first is creating a research project that will provide benefit to the Australian community.

“The second is disseminating all of the skills, insights and knowledge gathered from world experts on the Fellowship when returning home,” Mr Davey said.

Food South Australia is the State’s peak industry body, and aims to grow value and opportunities for members and industry through key services and programs.

This new Fellowship is designed to drive innovation and transformation in the SA Food industry. Apply for a 2018 Churchill Fellowship from Thursday 1 February, applications close 27 April 2018.

Visit to find out more or reserve your place at the Adelaide or Mt Gambier information sessions to discuss your project ideas and gain helpful advice on how to apply at

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