RAID in 2019: That’s a wrap!
By Jack Hetherington, RAID President
The silly season is once again upon us! As we all prepare to wind up the year with a lot (a lot, a lot!) of food, good times with friends and family, and resolutions, we at RAID Network wanted to share a couple of the highlights from the past year and tease some things to look out for in the coming year.
Supporting ag researchers and leaders
Since June 2018, RAID and the Crawford Fund have been working together to support and build the capacity of early to mid-career researchers to become the future research leaders and managers.
In this time, we have held five workshops across Australia, including three in 2019 based in Hobart, Wagga Wagga and Darwin. Across all of these workshops (since 2018), there have been 84 participants.
With funding support from the Crawford Fund Victorian committee, Jenny Hanks and Dave McGill, from the University of Melbourne and RAID committee members, delivered a workshop on Digital Data to 31 researchers from Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Fiji, Samoa and Australia in Hanoi during October 2019.
Additionally, thanks to the support of the Crawford Fund, RAID was able to send two dedicated individuals to the weeklong Leadership and Management Master Class in Penang, Malaysia during November. This year, the RAID committee recognised the fantastic contributions to RAID’s activities of: committee member, Candice Skelton; and the then-state representative (now committee member), Maddison Clonan.
To help RAID think about how we deliver capacity-building initiatives, this year, RAID took on an intern: Irene Parisi, a Master’s of Forestry graduate from Italy who had a work placement in CSIRO, Brisbane. Irene conducted an evaluation of RAID’s capacity building program. To show our thanks for her hard work, RAID supported Irene to attend the leadership and management workshop in Darwin during September 2019.
Connecting with RAIDers around Australia
Between July 2018 and June 2019, RAID held 15 networking events connecting over 430 people. It is during these events, RAIDers are able to connect with like-minded individuals, share stories and lessons from the field and meet experienced researchers.
This was made possible by the terrific efforts of our team of 27 representatives in 13 locations across Australia.
Sprucing up our website
A major undertaking for RAID in 2019 was reinvigorating our online presence. The committee worked with Osky Interactive to rethink and redesign the RAID website, which was launched in August 2019.
In the 12 months between July 2018 and 2019, RAID published 27 blogs with an average of 348 hits per blog.
Additionally, in 2019, RAID hit over 1,000 members – a 31% increase from the previous year.
RAID continued to build upon its existing partnerships in 2019 to connect, engage and support early to mid-career researchers in Australia.
As a program of the Crawford Fund, the RAID collaborated with many initiatives of the Fund to deliver upon the shared goal. This included continuing to have a strong leadership role in the Crawford Fund Scholars program and Parliamentary Conference; supporting the ACIAR-funded ‘NextGen’ launched this year; and working with state and territory committees to host workshops and networking events around Australia.
RAID also built upon its longstanding partnership with ACIAR, who continues to be RAID’s biggest financial supporter; providing $50,000p.a through the Crawford Fund for RAID. In December this year, ACIAR invited RAID to meet with ACIAR Commissioners to strengthen the dialogue between the two groups and discuss future opportunities to support up and coming ag researchers.
Looking to the year ahead of us
RAID is looking forward to another exciting year. In August this year, the RAID committee had a strategic planning meeting to figure out where we are heading in the next little while.
We are planning on lots of exciting things, some of which will include continuing to do what we do well, as well as trying a few new things. So, watch this space!
Here are a few things for you to look out for in the New Year.
- A Leadership and Management workshop in Perth during March 2020. Details TBC and advertised early in 2020.
- A consultation process for future capacity building activities, to understand what the RAID community wants further support in to shape the next wave of researchers and leaders in ag development.
- Exploring new partnership models with Australian Volunteers to support open volunteering for overseas.
- Announcing the 2019 blog competition winner and even more great blogs to read.
- Holding more networking events near you.
- A website with greater capacity to connect and engage with each other. Stemming from feedback from RAIDers and external stakeholders, we at the RAID committee decided to build in new features into our fresh new website, including a searchable member profile system and discussion forum. Additionally, in 2020 RAID will be taking orders for RAID work gear, so you can look fab in the field while still being practical.
Stay tuned for more exciting things coming your way…
A team effort
2019 has been another big year for RAID and none of it is possible without the ongoing commitment of many teams and individuals, who we’d like to recognize and thank.
Firstly, a big thanks to the RAID reps, who are integral to ensuring we can deliver events all across Australia.
Additionally, thanks to the staff at the Crawford Fund, in a particular Sue Faulkner, who keep the day-to-day of RAID plugging along.
Special (massive) thanks to each individual on the RAID committee, who collectively contributed over 2,000hrs per year over their own time to make RAID a thing.
Lastly, thanks to every RAIDer who continues to demonstrate an infectious passion for Ag R4D. It is because there is this community of keen-beans who want to solve the world’s wicked problems which allows RAID to exist.
Wishing everyone an enjoyable holiday break and productive 2020!