Senior Fellows Q&A: Dr Scott Waldron

Dr Scott Waldron is an AIC Senior Fellow and a senior lecturer and research fellow at the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences in the Faculty of Science at The University of Queensland.

We recently spoke with him about his role in the PAIR program, his view on the role of site visits in research, and what he has learnt so far working with PAIR South Sulawesi.

Describe how you first became interested in your research field.

I grew up on a farm and have always been interested in the broader world we live in, so the two fields came together in international agricultural development.

Are there other researchers in your family? Do you remember when you first encountered the idea of scientific investigation?

All (good) farmers are researchers. I became interested at a young age – probably primary school – in news, ideas, critical thinking and writing so I guess it started from there.

What do you like about your university? Name a past colleague or teacher there who inspired you in your work, and explain how.

The University of Queensland is fully internationalised and encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and research with impact. The sub-tropical sandstone campus is spectacular [Ed. pictured below]. I was lucky enough to work with agricultural economists like John Longworth and Colin Brown – who taught me how to do rigorous, muddy boots research.

Credit: Wikipedia.

Where are you from? What is it like there? If you could export one aspect of life from there to the world, what would it be?

I grew up in the bush, but now live in Brisbane. If I could export an Australian trait it would be dry humour.

If you could implement one new policy there, guaranteed to succeed, what would it be?

Integrated, long term, thoughtful regional planning to cater for the demands of the future – and for people.

PAIR looks at the impact of new transport infrastructure. Can you recall the arrival of any major new infrastructure in your life or community? Do you recall its impact?

A company drilled for oil on our outback farm. It didn’t find oil but did find water and left a cased bore, roads and fences – which was a boon to our family at the time.

Where do you go and what do you do for a relaxing weekend?

I have a very active young family that are into everything, so there’s not usually a lot of relaxing on the weekends. We do however try to get to the beach.

Do you have a party trick or super power or signature dish?

I speak Chinese, which surprises a lot of people, including at parties.

Could you recommend a book that everyone should read, and why?

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong – for the deep and vivid painting of the relationships between wolves, grasslands, sheep, horses, mosquitoes and different types of humans.