Agriculture and soil scientist Dr Glen Simpson has been awarded The University of Queensland’s Gatton Gold Medal for improving the welfare of communities around the world.
Dr Simpson began his agricultural journey 61 years ago when, as a 12 year old, he became a boarder at UQ Gatton’s predecessor, Queensland Agricultural College.
He completed his schooling, a Queensland Diploma of Agricultural Science and further graduate and postgraduate studies at UQ.
“From there I travelled widely as a young graduate, and was increasingly determined to tackle poverty and hunger in disadvantaged communities,” Dr Simpson said.
“My first real job was working as a United Nations adviser, setting up research programs and a soil laboratory in Spain, helping transfer Australian farming systems and research capabilities.
“I then did similar work in Thailand for the Australian Government, before working on innovative irrigation and drainage systems in Central America.”
Following decades saw Dr Simpson work in international development, helping provide technologies and services in agriculture, health, education, land titling and justice and most recently in post-conflict reconstruction in war affected regions and countries.
The Medal, formerly known as the ‘Council Gold Medal’, has been awarded annually since 1984 to a UQ Gatton graduate – or a graduate of its agricultural college predecessor – who has achieved outstanding success.
Dr Simpson is delighted to have won the award, and to have his work recognised by his alma mater.
“It’s a true honour to be presented with this award, from an institution that set me up with a well-rounded science and practical education.
“It’s been a rewarding career, and I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with and get to know and understand people in the communities.
“But it’s no time to stop, as we face big challenges, such as climate change, pollution, population growth, and food production, storage and distribution.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for agricultural scientists and producers and we must continue to collaborate internationally to put forward Australia’s best and brightest ideas.”