Murdoch researcher wins national award

Chengdao Li holding his award near some barley

Murdoch University Professor and Director of the Western Barley Genetics Alliance Chengdao Li has received national recognition, winning the 2019 Australian Farmer of the Year Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research.

Dr Li has made significant contributions to advancing grains genetics over nearly two decades with both Murdoch University and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

In Parliament this week, Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan acknowledged Dr Li’s leading research into improving barley yields and malt qualities.

“He was responsible for mapping the barley genome, and his new acid soil tolerant barley lines will add $30 million annually to the WA economy,” Ms MacTeirnan told the Legislative Council.

Murdoch University Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation), David Morrison, said Dr Li’s work epitomised modern research by employing solution-driven science and collaboration to accelerate outcomes that creates transformational change.

“Dr Li’s enthusiasm and work ethic is well known, which inspires those around him,” Professor Morrison said.

“He is a tremendous mentor to his colleagues and students, who benefit from his expertise, experience and wisdom, which spans from the field to the laboratory and the boardroom.”

We are proud to have Dr Li as a member of our university research team and we look forward to his continued success.

As leader of the Western Barley Genetics Alliance, Dr Li leads a team of highly skilled scientists that has developed several new molecular tools to enhance breeding efficiency.

He also led a WA-based group that contributed to an international effort to map the barley genome. His team currently focus on development of climate resilient crop using the genome information.

DPIRD Managing Director Research and Industry Innovation, Mark Sweetingham, congratulated Murdoch’s highly regarded scientist on his award and his contribution to the department and the WA grains industry.

“Dr Li is admired for his extensive knowledge in plant genetics and ability to see the big picture and how to get there,” Dr Sweetingham said.

“He is well known for pursuing new technology and scientific techniques to overcome production constraints, such as waterlogging, soil acidity and grain quality, to develop new and improved varieties with improved performance in the paddock and for end-users.

Dr Li is respected by all in the industry, particularly his colleagues, who know him as a great storyteller who communicates highly complicated scientific knowledge in an easily consumable way.

The Western Barley Genetics Alliance, a partnership between Murdoch University and DPIRD, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation originated in 2015 to optimise the organisations’ complementary expertise and resources.

Posted on:

18 Oct 2019

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