Poggendorff Lecture - The Royal Society of NSW

The Poggendorff Lectureship

The Poggendorf Lectureship is awarded periodically for research in plant biology and more broadly agriculture.

Nominations for the 2018 award will close on 30 September 2018. A letter of nomination and the nominee's full curriculum vitae should be sent to the Awards Committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The medal will be presented at the Society's Annual Dinner.

Walter Poggendorff was a biologist and plant breeder with a particular interest in the breeding of rice.  In 1928, the Yanco Rice Research Station was established by the NSW Department of Agriculture with approximately 670 acres just south of Leeton on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.  A brilliant young biologist, Walter Poggendorff was transferred there as an assistant plant breeder.

Poggendorff’s early accomplishments included recognizing the need to quarantine imported rice and producing strains of rice that were able to offer growers late, mid-season, early and very early short-grain varieties.  He also developed similar long-grain strains but these were not required by the market until much later.  Poggendorff is recognised as one of the major figures in establishing the Australian rice industry, developing high-yield crops for Australian conditions and maintaining controls on imports to limit the introduction of serious diseases.  Poggendorff’s work was not confined to rice – in the 1930s and 1940s, he worked with peaches, apricots, pears, almonds, grapes and rock melons.  Later, he became Chief of the Division of Plant Industry in the NSW Department of Agriculture.

When he died in 1981, he made a bequest to the Royal Society of NSW to fund a lecture.

The Poggendorff Lectureship 2017

The 2017 Lectureship will be awarded to Associate Professor Brent Kaiser.  He is a member of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney.

 Associated Professor Kaiser is a molecular plant physiologist whose research into the sustainable use of nitrogen in cereal and legume grain crops has not only advanced the field, but achieved also tangible improvements in agricultural production and environmental stewardship.


Year & Lecturer

1987     D.G. McDonald
1992     E.J. Corbin
1993     S. Barker
2013     G.M. Gurr
2016     A. Robson
2017     B. Kaiser


 About the 2016 Poggendorff Lecture

Applied remote sensing applications for Australian agricultural and horticultural industries

Associate Professor Andrew Robson. University of New England

With increasing awareness of global food shortages and a downturn in mining exports, Australian agriculture is currently receiving unprecedented industry support and funding for the development and adoption of new technologies. At the forefront of this renaissance is agricultural remote sensing, predominantly due to the advent of drones or UAVs.  Whilst the UAV technologies themselves still require much research and development, they have inadvertently increased focus on satellite based imaging platforms, a technology that has been evolving since the 1970’s. The University of New England (UNE) Agricultural Remote Sensing Team (ARST), stands at the forefront of research within this discipline having established formal collaborations across multiple agricultural industries, and offering support to many more.

In the ‘Poggendorff Award’ lecture, Associate Professor Andrew Robson, will present a brief theory of remote sensing with relevance to agriculture, including an overview of commercial satellites and associated costings. The presentation will include a detailed discussion of applications currently being developed by ARST, in response to industry demand, ranging from the prediction of fruit size and yield at the individual tree level, the automated derivation and distribution of yield and nitrogen concentration maps to an entire industry and the generation of tools that support national biosecurity and post disaster monitoring.

Associate Professor Robson, founded the ARST, a theme of the UNE Precision Agriculture Research Group (PARG) in 2016 on the back of his long standing research career in agricultural remote sensing. He has been engaged in agricultural research since 1996, with the last 15 years developing spatial applications (remote sensing/ GIS) across a number of cropping and farming systems both nationally and internationally. This research has attracted funding from a wide range of industries including Peanut (ACIAR, GRDC, University of Florida), Grains (GRDC), Cotton (CCCCRC), Sugar (SRA/SRDC, WWF/ Coca Cola), Rice (RIRDC/ NSWDPI), Avocados, Mangoes, Macadamia, Banana (Horticulture Innovation Aust/ Federal DAF), Vegetables (Horticulture Innovation Aust), Pineapples (QDAF) and Pastures (CRC-SI/ MLA). Throughout his career, A/ Professor Robson has developed an extensive network of industry, research and commercial collaborators that are regularly engaged for the development and delivery of practical and adoptable outcomes. 


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