Future Leaders Program | Fight Food Waste CRC
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Future Leaders Program

The challenge

Commercial opportunities associated with food loss and waste (FLW) are predicted to have the highest Compound Annual Growth Rate of all food and agricultural opportunities in Australia over the next 10 years and will therefore need professionals with competencies in both research and business to drive growth. The Future Leaders Program aims to face this challenge head on and deliver the FLW leaders of tomorrow.

Tackling Australia’s food waste challenges is also considered a ‘wicked’ problem, involving ever changing environmental, economic, social and ethical considerations. For modern researchers to successfully tackle these interdisciplinary issues a ‘360-degree’ approach to the gathering of evidence is required. But, although academic work has changed a great deal in the last 60 years, the doctoral curriculum has remained relatively static. Therefore, graduates need to be sufficiently agile and creative to lead projects in an environment of rapid change that will bridge the gap between standard thesis-oriented research and what industry and governments need.

Our plan

The Future Leaders Program is designed to build skills in research translation and research leadership for FFW CRC PhD and MSc students.  As such, the program sit at the nexus of applied research and the commercialisation/application of knowledge in an industry setting. It is designed to deliver candidates who are industry-ready and equipped with skills beyond that offered by research partners in their regular supervision and training processes. 

The Future Leaders Program will be delivered in two integrated streams:

  • Professional mentoring managed by KPMG that will provide opportunities for students to build connections with industry and gain skills in being an enterprising professional. This will occur in person each year as part of the FFW CRC annual conference and regularly throughout the year via electronic means.
  • Personal development retreats lead by Central Queensland University with support from a range of national and international discipline experts. It will occur in Years 2, 4, 6 and be supplemented by six-monthly virtual training meetings. The theme will be ‘beyond research’, covering areas such as leadership, communication, social impact and innovation.

By building more structured and unstructured learning opportunities into the standard PhD offerings of participant universities this program also aims to reduce PhD/MSc student attrition.

Crucially, this program will also build the food waste transformation workforce of the future; a workforce predicted by Food Innovation Australia Limited to undergo exceptional growth in the coming years. It will enable these future leaders to contribute to the development of the Australian economy and enhance social impact.

Peer-reviewed open access articles and an action research-based ‘how to’ manual will be published on the quality of research training and research translation to improve academic understanding. These insights will benefit future CRC programs and beyond. 

As this project progresses and achieves its milestones, we’ll share the good news on this page by adding information, links, images, interviews and more.


April 2020 – March 2025