The Poggendorff Lectureship

The Poggendorff Lectureship is awarded every two to three years for research in plant biology and, more broadly, agriculture. Nominations close on 30 September of each year in which nominations are sought. 

The application procedure for this lectureship is described on the nomination form. Each application must comply with the conditions of the award and consist of a completed nomination form together with supporting documentation as specified on the form. Completed nominations should be sent to the email address listed on the nomination form. 

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.

Poggendorff Lectureship 2021

Richard TrethowanThe Poggendorff Lectureship for 2021 has been awarded to Professor Richard Trethowan, Director of the IA Watson Research Centre, Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute and a member of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. Professor Trethowan is a world-leading plant breeder whose work has improved our understanding of the genetic control of heat resistance in wheat, an important trait globally, and has contributed significantly to the development of new technologies including hybrid wheat systems and the application of genomic selection to plants. His work has led to the development of unique genetic wheat strains that have impacted the productivity of agricultural systems in many countries. These impacts include the release of wheat cultivars to farmers from his experimental materials, either directly, through their use as parents, or the application of knowledge generated from his research.

Poggendorff Lectureship 2020

Professor Angela MolesProfessor Angela Moles FRSN, of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences of UNSW (Sydney), has been awarded the Poggendorff Lectureship for 2020. Professor Moles is an international leader in the field of large-scale evolutionary ecology. In particular she studies the processes that shape global patterns and the way plants grow reproduce and interact with animals. She has a highly cited publication record and the innovation and quality of her work has been recognised by numerous awards.

Poggendorff Lectureship 2018

Professor Robert F. Park FRSN, of the Plant Breeding Institute, University of Sydney, was awarded the Poggendorff Lectureship for 2018. Professor Park is a world leader in the pathology and genetics of cereal rust pathogens. This research not only transforms our fundamental understanding of genetic variability in all cereal rust pathogens, including the genetics of resistance to these diseases, but has also made significant contributions to (inter)national efforts to control these diseases, thus benefitting the agriculture sector enormously.

List of Past Recipients of the Poggendorff Lectureship

Year & Lecturer

1987     D.G. McDonald
1992     E.J. Corbin
1993     S. Barker
2013     G.M. Gurr
2016     A. Robson
2017     B. Kaiser
2018     R.F. Park
2020     A. Moles
2021     R. Trethowan


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