Everything that the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has achieved during 40 years – its partnerships and projects, and the outcomes and impacts of both – comes down to the many, many people who have contributed to the work of the organisation.
ACIAR has always been a people-driven organisation – from the people who had the vision to share Australian expertise to aid the development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry in countries of the Indo-Pacific region, through to the thousands of scientists from partner countries who worked on ACIAR-supported projects to address challenges in their own countries as well as develop their own skills and advance their qualifications.
The original staff who turned a vision into a functioning agency have given way to a new generation of dedicated research leaders brokering science partnerships, in-country managers fostering partner-country relationships, and specialist technical and administrative staff in the Canberra office ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the agency. All ACIAR staff – past
and present – deserve to be proud of their part in the history of ACIAR.
With more than 1,500 projects supported by ACIAR since 1982, each and every project leader and project team member can also stake a claim in the formidable achievements of ACIAR.
Some 800 early and mid-career researchers from partner countries have advanced their careers through ACIAR fellowships. They are ACIAR outreach in action, sharing knowledge and connecting diverse partners across countries and regions. Their stories illustrate the immense value of ACIAR capacity-building efforts and its dividends.
The roles and affiliations that make up the ACIAR family are many and varied. While ACIAR staff are at the core of the operations of ACIAR, the reputation, value and impact of ACIAR is equally due to the researchers on project teams, the emerging scientists on ACIAR fellowships, and all the associates of ACIAR who have maintained enduring links with the world of agricultural research for development.
It was a special privilege to be the second director of ACIAR, after Professor Jim McWilliam established the Centre. I have had a long career in research, and I still work in overseas assistance in a variety of ways. I regard my 6-plus years at ACIAR as the best years of my professional life.
I really liked the flat structure within ACIAR, where all staff were treated equally, which was unique in the Canberra bureaucracy at the time. They were trusted and given responsibility, regardless of their position. And they always seemed to go above and beyond – it led to great teamwork.
Emeritus Professor George Rothschild
ACIAR Director (1989–1995)