11 May 2004

Two of The University of Queensland’s top academics have received the highest accolade from their international peers, having been chosen to lead the world’s peak soil science group.

Professor Roger Swift, Executive Dean, Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science (NRAVS) has been appointed President-elect of the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) while Associate Professor Neal Menzies, School of Land and Food Sciences is the new Vice-President-elect.

Their appointment to the IUSS, which represents 44,000 soil scientists in 140 member nations, recognises the distinguished service both men have provided the field in Australia and overseas* and further underlines the international standing of the NRAVS faculty.

“I look forward to serving as the President of IUSS and raising awareness of global soil issues in international forums,” Professor Swift said.

“I also want to encourage greater participation by younger scientists, increased promotion of the latest soil science findings and more debate about those findings.

“Soil science is a critical tool in addressing the demands of modern society. The NRAVS Faculty now has an internationally-recognised role in contributing educational and research services, as well as leadership, to the field.”

Associate Professor Menzies said soil scientists played an important role in solving problems in agricultural production, water quality, waste disposal, mined-land rehabilitation, conservation biology and even forensic science.

“Soil science is a rewarding field because it has such broad application and can help make significant and tangible improvements to our way of life and our interaction with the environment,” Associate Professor Menzies said.

“I am looking forward to working with Professor Swift in our new positions with the IUSS to promote soil science and the contribution that the University of Queensland can make as an education and research provider in this area.”

The Australian soil science community will have further opportunity to boost its international profile when it hosts the World Congress of Soil Science in Brisbane in 2010.

Professor Swift said he and Associate Professor Menzies would be working closely with soil scientists from across the nation to ensure the event was a showcase of Australian expertise.

More information: Prof. Roger Swift, phone (07) 5460 1201
Assoc. Prof. Neal Menzies, phone (07) 3365 2059