RD Watt Lecture

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The annual RD Watt Lecture commemorates the first lecture delivered to University of Sydney agriculture students in March 1911 by Australia’s first Professor of Agriculture, Robert Dickie Watt.

It is a tribute to his strong vision and leadership as the first Dean, as well as to 100 years of world-changing Agriculture at Australia’s first University. Watt developed courses with a strong scientific content which became a characteristic of the Sydney degree.

RD Watt Lecture 2014


Innovation in Agriculture and Food Systems: An Imperative for our Future
Presented by Professor Molly Jahn, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin.

WEDNESDAY 16 APRIL 2014
5.30pm followed by a cocktail reception at 6.30pm
Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium,
The University of Sydney

Click here to register for this lecture.

Agriculture is possibly the most important human activity, essential for our survival and further development as a species, and with large and growing impacts on our natural resource base and future climate.

Gains in yield and natural resource use efficiency will continue to be critically important in the 21st century, but there is growing recognition of the need for new research focus on the science that will guide our choices on agricultural and other managed landscapes as we navigate the consequences of our demands for food, materials, water and energy in the face of increasing weather extremes in globalized food systems.

Professor Jahn will describe several current projects she is involved in and larger alliances which illustrate challenges and opportunities for agricultural research to contribute to moving our food systems toward long term sufficiency and resiliency.

Professor Molly Jahn
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Professor Molly Jahn is a Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She has had a distinguished research career in plant genetics, genomics and plant breeding of vegetable crops focusing on molecular genetics of disease resistance and quality traits. Her research groups at UW Madison and Cornell University have produced crop varieties now grown commercially and for subsistence on six continents under approximately 60 active commercial licenses.

She has also worked extensively in developing countries to link crop breeding with improved human nutrition and welfare. Her innovative approaches to inter-sector partnerships, engagement with emerging institutions, and integrated projects focused on impact and technology transfer have been highlighted in numerous studies and books.