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Published: 16 Aug 2022

During National Science Week 2022, we are catching-up with some of TIA’s researchers, who work across a wide variety of areas to help transform the knowledge of agriculture, food production and post farmgate practices of Tasmania’s farmers, to create sustainable economic benefit for Tasmania and the world.

Bianca Das is an early-career researcher and lecturer in soil science at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture within the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Tasmania. She is passionate about enhancing soil productivity and reducing agricultural pollution by better understanding links between soil, nutrients, water management, climate change, and local farmer needs.

What is the coolest thing about being a scientist?

I get to stay curious about the world and never stop learning from a variety of people and places. Whether its going into the field to collect data, travelling overseas, speaking to a farmer, or listening to an international student. I also love that my work has a practical application to help land managers.

Why did you choose to follow this study/career path?

Growing up in New Zealand, I gained a core value of “kaitiakitanga” or land stewardship. This led me to study environmental science, soil, and agriculture. One of my core interests is in soil nutrient management because of the challenges New Zealand faces with balancing a productive agriculture economic sector with pristine landscapes and waterways. I believe both can be achieved, with a profit for farmers.

What are you working on right now that is especially exciting?

I am working on building a nutrient network in Tasmania to bring together people who are interested in getting the most out of their fertiliser applications, and reduce nutrient losses to waterways, oceans and the atmosphere.

Do you have any advice for students considering studying science?

Consider studying agriculture! It’s the most rewarding field of science because there are plenty of jobs and scholarships, you can make a difference to the planet and help feed the world! We need a diversity of minds and experiences to solve real world problems now.