Media release: Eureka! DPI shares in prestigious science award win
Friday, August 20, 2010
A DPI scientist is part of a team that has won one of the 2010 Museum of Australia Eureka Prizes – Australia’s most prestigious science awards.
Department of Primary Industries senior Scientist Dr Robyn Warner is part of the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) team which took out the award this week.
This is the second time in two years that DPI has won this award and it is a great testament to the quality and relevance of our science, DPI Future Farming Systems Research Executive Director Dr Ron Prestidge said.
From its beginnings in Victoria in 1992, MSA has developed into a world-first research project that labels red meat with a guaranteed grade and recommended cooking method.
It investigated whether average consumers could reliably evaluate beef eating quality and whether beef eating quality could be guaranteed from the diverse range of production environments in Australia.
It also involved the world-first use of tens of thousands of untrained taste panellists working out their preference for a food product as a basis for the grading scheme.
Dr Warner, who has been responsible for research on acute pre-slaughter stress and heat toughening and its impact on eating quality in the MSA model, said the system showed how science, researchers and industry could successfully work together for change.
When the project began in the early 1990s the red meat industry was declining and last year more than one million beef carcasses were graded under the voluntary MSA grading scheme, Dr Warner said.
The MSA model puts the principles of meat science, and what we understand about meat tenderness into practice and is being used in industry to drive change.
Dr Warner said the support of the processing plants around Victoria and Australia had been important to the success of MSA.
The success of the team really has been in the diverse skills and special mention should be made for the outstanding contribution of Victorian beef producer and retailer, Rod Polkinghorne, who was the driving force behind its inception, she said.
The benefit of the award will hopefully be that city people realise there is a high level of science used in the bush and that it is world’s best science, Mr Polkinghorne said.
The Eureka Awards are presented annually to award excellence in the fields of research and innovation, science leadership, school science and science journalism and communication. MSA was one of three finalists in the Research by an Interdisciplinary Team category.
Media contact: Simone Dalton DPI Horsham 0408 349 532