Research Associate, Nikki Dumbrell will be commencing her PhD at GFAR in late June. On 5 April, Nikki was announced as the inaugural winner of the Thomas Foods International/Playford Trust PhD Scholarship. Nikki was in Vietnam for the ACIAR-funded project “Towards more profitable and sustainable vegetable farming systems in north western Vietnam” on the awards night so attended the Playford Trust’s recent board meeting to receive her award.
The Playford Trust works with government, the tertiary sector, industry and the community to provide a range of scholarships for high achieving South Australian students to develop the research and skills base required to advance areas of strategic importance for South Australia. The Trust offer scholarships to students pursuing work across a range of priority areas, including ‘agriculture, aquaculture and food production’.
Nikki’s PhD research will explore issues related to the social licence to operate in agriculture and related industries in rural Australia. While there are multiple definitions of the ‘social licence to operate’ it is largely used to refer to the level of acceptance or approval (by local or national communities and stakeholders) of an actor’s (e.g. farmer) actions or behaviour. The actions of farmers and other landholders that attract scrutiny are numerous but often include the use of natural resources, the creation of pollution (e.g. water or air) or the treatment of animals.