Grace Scott discovered a love of plants while attending an Agricultural High School in Baulkham Hills, it was at this time she also realised that she liked to keep her hands clean. While this may seem like conflicting interests, Grace has found her calling in the science side of horticulture.
In 2016 Grace travelled to England study at Azotic Technologies in Nottingham, John Innes Centre in Norwich and Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, as the leading researchers into sustainable agriculture. During her time there Grace “learnt more about science than I could ever have imagined” and was offered an industrial placement for a Master of Research degree at Azotic Technologies, which she took up in 2018.
Grace has just returned to Sydney after a year studying in Nottingham, England. Her research centered on Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus (GD), a nitrogen-fixing bacteria capable of living within plant tissue, which she first learnt of during her BBM Scholarship trip. In 2018 Grace was awarded funding from the Australian Cotton industry to test this bacteria as a sustainable alternative to fertiliser. During this time, Grace found that her greatest challenge was outside the lab – adjusting to the English winter. The experience of Nottingham for Grace, however, was definitely worth some drizzle and cold toes.
More recently Grace was one of 100 students aged 18 to 25 selected from around the world to attend the 2019 Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brazil, where she won one of three cash prizes for presenting her research. Attending the summit has been a long-term goal for Grace over the last three years. She credits the support of BBM and CRDC as what made achieving this goal possible.
In the future, Grace hopes to work with the agriculture industry, implementing continuous product improvement to develop industry specific, market ready biological alternatives to fertilisers and growth promotants. Traveling to the UK on the BBM scholarship enabled her to learn about new technologies which could increase the sustainability and profitability of the global agriculture industry.
Grace is making waves in her industry, but is aware that the world needs many young leaders to future proof our practices.
“By the year 2050 our planet will be expected to feed almost 10 billion hungry mouths. In order to do so, agriculture requires vast innovation to produce more food with less resources in a sustainable manner. Scholarships in agriculture and horticulture encourage young people to join and contribute to this common goal. Encouraging the best and the brightest into the industry will advance our society towards a more sustainable and equitable food system.”
Her message to future scholars and young leaders is simple but powerful.
“Never think you are too small to make an impact. Do the right thing boldly, and people will help you towards your goal.”