Project Leader, Organisation

Kerrie Rubie, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries




The Queensland DAF Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition offers engaging ways for students to gain understanding and skills in key areas identified within the Australian Science Curriculum.  Encouraging the next generation of people who will be involved in agriculture and rural industries as scientists, farmers (and a range of roles in between) is crucial to how we will face the future and is a key purpose of the competition.

The competition is highly regarded amongst educationalists and attracts between 100-200 schools from across Australia annually and over its 23-year history has reached over 105,000 students (from years prep to twelve).

The Foundation was also pleased to support the Plant Science competition in 2019 (PBSF007)

Objectives and impact

The aim of the competition is to stimulate an interest in science and agriculture in young people and to promote science and agriculture as an exciting and rewarding career.

This is achieved, not only by students partaking in the competition’s hands-on experiments and activities, but also through extended programs and support offered including Queensland-wide student workshops, school visits by DAF scientists and staff, the annual Awards Day & Ag Science Expo and a large range of prizes including scholarships to attend industry conferences and agricultural science camps.

The 2020 competition will focus on ‘Plant Health’ in celebration of the International Year of Plant Health.  Students will engage in a series of activities including experimental investigations to investigate factors that affect plant health (to be presented in scientific report format) and will perform extra research (to be presented in poster/video format) into the importance of protecting plant health in order to help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.

Participating students will develop skills in scientific method and will develop a broader understanding and interest in plant health, breeding, pathology, invasive pests and biosecurity with the possibility of considering further studies and careers in this field.

Final Report

Despite COVID-19 the QDAF team still produced a competition that raised the profile of plant health. The Report can be found here.