University of Waikato postgraduate students researching subjects with an agri focus can apply for a research scholarship to help fund their study. The New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship is open to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents studying or planning to study either master or doctoral degrees at the University of Waikato.
The scholarship has been running since 2012 and is funded by the Fieldays Society.
Last year’s winner Gemma Lowe used her scholarship to fund her doctoral study into early indicators of disease in New Zealand dairy calves. She says the scholarship helped cover course fees and allowed her to focus on completing her research, rather than taking on additional work to cover costs.
“And the scholarship allowed me to go to Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island in Canada last year to present my research. While in Canada, I took the opportunity to visit other researchers who I’ve been in contact with throughout my PhD, where I got to discuss my research around validating the use of infrared thermography [IRT] for early disease detection and got to hear about similar IRT- based research that they and their students are involved in.”
Gemma spent a large part of 2018 analysing data from the different trials she’s carried out and writing that information up as papers to be submitted for publication in scientific journals. She’s recently had one accepted for the Journal of Dairy Science.
“It focused on identifying the use of IRT and other behavioural and physiological responses associated with the early onset of neonatal calf diarrhoea (NCD) and their suitability as early disease indicators. And last month I submitted another paper to the Journal of Dairy Science which is looking at validating the use of IRT as an alternative method for measuring respiration rate in dairy calves.”
A third paper, discussing algorithms which have been developed as part of Gemma’s PhD for automatically detecting the eye and cheek regions from infrared images is currently in progress and she’ll likely submit that for publication to the Animals Journal.
The university has had a long association with Fieldays, held each year at Mystery Creek in June. The university’s founding Vice-Chancellor Sir Don Llewellyn helped establish Fieldays in the 1960s and it’s now the largest event of its kind in Australasia. Scholarship applications close on 15 May 2019.