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National honours for drought researcher

Summer has arrived bringing with it nation-wide heatwaves and only a spattering of rain for our drought-affected farmers.
But praises are flooding in for climate researcher Professor Roger Stone, named best in his field during the Engagement Australia Excellence Awards overnight (December 1).

The Engagement Australia Excellence Awards celebrate the most exciting and impactful engagement activities undertaken by Australian and New Zealand universities.

Professor Roger Stone received the Award for Outstanding Leadership in Engagement – a significant honour that he said recognised the need for climate research.

“Climate scientists need to move out from behind their desks and their labs, and speak about climate risk with the community – especially in regional and rural Australia,” Professor Stone said.

“The issues associated with climate are so massive, they are so huge, we have to get out there and start talking to famers about their work.”

“Knowing when drought is developing so that we can prepare them for what’s to come is vital to keeping food on the table.”

Professor Roger Stone has dedicated half his life to climate research.

A career spanning 35 years and several continents, Professor Stone has helped more than 60,000 farmers across Australia, and even more in India and South East Asia.

His research into climate risk management has led Professor Stone to become internationally renowned in his field.

In 2018, he was elected President of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organisation Commission for Agricultural Meteorology.

“We set up a drought management and research program as well as food security programs within the United Nations,” Professor Stone said.

“We’re now starting to utilise a lot of the knowledge we’ve gained in Australia with countries around the world, especially in developing countries.”

When he’s not working for the United Nations or helping farmers during droughts, Professor Roger Stone also heads the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Applied Climate Sciences.

Professor Stone said drought would continue to be one of the biggest challenges Australia faces into the future – but there is hope.

“We can get ready for it and plan accordingly, ensuring future growth and success,” he said.

“We can help communities become much better able to withstand the complexities of droughts and build resilience to deal with the shock that comes through the system.

“And when the drought starts to break, we can help them capitalise on the opportunities that come with the return of rain.”

More information about Professor Stone’s research is available online.
roger stone wearing hat
USQ climate researcher Professor Roger Stone received the nation’s top gong during the Engagement Australia Excellence Awards overnight.