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Churchill Fellowship: Developing tomorrow’s industry leaders

Industry Best Practice

Apply for a life-changing opportunity to engage with world leaders in your chosen topic and then bring the knowledge home to share. 

Hort Innovation is partnering with the Churchill Trust to develop tomorrow’s industry leaders by offering specific Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowships. Up to four fellowships are on offer in 2024 for international research on a topic related to horticulture. 

To meet the criteria, applicants must propose topics that will provide clear benefit to the Australian horticulture sector and, ultimately, to the wider community; and be transformational in nature for the horticulture industry in general. 

These fellowships are joint-funded with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust using Hort Innovation’s Leadership Fund, as part of its strategic co-investment initiative. These funds comprise a number of strategic long-term research and development programs that use a combination of government funding and partner investments, and endeavour to address major challenges in key areas identified as crucial to securing the future of Australian horticulture industries. 

South Australian commercial rose grower Kim Syrus (Churchill Scholar 2023) is researching the propagation and growing of cutting-grown roses versus traditional budded types in Europe and the US.

Travel the world to pursue your passion

Ever dreamed of travelling to other countries to seek fresh ideas and discover new ways of doing things? Keen to contribute to your industry? A Churchill Fellowship offers Australian citizens and permanent residents from all walks of life a life-changing opportunity to travel overseas for four to eight weeks to learn more about a topic or issue they are passionate about. The breadth of potential topics is limitless! 

Design your own itinerary and travel for 4–8 weeks at a time of your choosing. No formal qualifications are required to apply – in fact you don’t even need to have finished school. The options are virtually limitless, providing your project will benefit Australia and you are willing to share your findings when you return. 

In addition to the general Churchill Fellowships and four Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowships, other sponsored fellowships specific to horticulture and food include the Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship to support innovation in food production or farming and the Caroline Welsh Churchill Fellowship for projects addressing climate change. 

Like to know more? Watch the series of pre-recorded information sessions, including a dedicated session for the agriculture and horticulture sectors. 

This year’s application round closes on 1 May 2024. Find out more here

Farmer and horticulture lead at Stop Food Waste Australia, Melissa Smith (Churchill Scholar 2023) is exploring approaches to reduce on-farm food waste in horticulture, visiting Kenya, the UK and the US.

About the Winston Churchill Trust

The Winston Churchill Trust was set up in 1965 after the death of famous British prime minister and war-time leader Sir Winston Churchill, when the Australian public gave generously in what was one of the country’s largest ever door-knock appeals. The Churchill Memorial Sunday door knock raised funds for an unusual type of memorial to Sir Winston. Endorsed by Churchill before he died, it was the establishment of a special fellowship bearing his name to provide a unique opportunity for ordinary people to travel, learn and bring knowledge back to their country. 

Since then, the Winston Churchill Trust has sent more than 4,700 Australians overseas to pursue their passion and bring back what they learnt to share with others and put into action. The contribution these Fellows have made to the country and the lives of Australians since receiving their fellowships is immeasurable. Along the way, many of them have developed careers and international reputations that shine a light on their chosen field of endeavour. 

They include people like Riverland citrus guru Ian Tolley; Victorian farm advisor Mike Stephens; former National Farmers Federation chief executive office Ben Fargher; current AgriFutures Australia chair Cathy McGowan; Barossa Valley game bird producer Colin Beer; winemaker and female trailblazer in the wine industry Pamela Dunsford; and horticulturalist and broadcaster Peter Cundall.


This article was first published in the Autumn 2024 edition of AFG.

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