Stemming the brain drain – Poultry Hub wins Education, Training and Public Outreach award

The Poultry CRC’s Poultry Hub is helping to stem the brain drain from agricultural studies at Australian schools and universities.

Students and educators from Australia and around the world are using Poultry Hub to help them learn about poultry and poultry production, stimulating interest in poultry science and hopefully dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding poultry production at the same time.

The Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA) recognised Poultry Hub’s efforts at its annual conference in Canberra last month, with Poultry Hub winning an Award for Excellence in Innovation at the CRCA Pathfinders Conference.

The Award for Excellence in Innovation in education and training and public outreach activities was presented by Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, to the Poultry CRC’s CEO, Mingan Choct, at the Gala Dinner held in the Great Hall of Parliament House. New England Girls’ School in Armidale and Country Range Farming in Queensland also received a trophy in recognition of their participation in Poultry Hub’s development. Thanks must also go to Motive Media for their expertise and advice since Poultry Hub was first conceived in 2006.

The Poultry CRC also joined several other CRCs at the Australian Science Festival, also held at the National Convention Centre, in order to get the youngsters thinking about a future in science. Hundreds of school children enjoyed helping the CRC’s Julie Roberts with some egg experiments. Teachers were also impressed with the joint efforts of the CRC, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation and the Australian Egg Corporation to attract young people into the agricultural sector.

Mingan said enrolments in university agricultural science courses were declining at a time when the key agricultural sector needed to skill up.

“Demand for graduates in agricultural science is projected to grow explosively as Australia defends its lead in the field,” he said.

Based on the popular wiki software, Poultry Hub’s array of useful resources and multimedia are proving a hit with both students and teachers alike.

Poultry Hub is being developed by the Poultry CRC to support the transfer of information from R&D into the industry as well as supporting the education and training aims of the CRC.

Recent additions to the constantly expanding resource include the Family Poultry Training Course manuals developed by David Farrell. The Scavenging Chickens Training Handbook caters to backyard or village production and may be useful for school-based poultry keeping. The Trainers’ Manual (for instructors) and Trainees’ Manual complement each other and are designed for a commercial low biosecurity farm setting.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has praised Poultry Hub, which has had more than 900,000 page views and more than 10,000 edits on over 750 articles.

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