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Inaugural Fulbright Western Australia Scholarship announced

Anthony Robinson has won the inaugural Fulbright Western Australia Scholarship supported through a fund established by donations from the Western Australian (WA) Government, WA based universities, companies, foundations and individuals. He will undertake research at the Viticulture and Oenology Department, University of California, Davis working with Professor Hildegarde Heymann, a world leader in the field of Sensory Evaluation of Food.

Robinson is currently undertaking his PhD at Murdoch University working in the Separation Science Laboratory which is part of the Western Australian node of Metabolomics Australia, a new National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Centre. The title of his study is Environmental Influences on Grape Aroma Potential which is supported by an industry scholarship from the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation. This study also collaborates with the Grape and Wine Flavour project (CSIRO Food Futures Flagship, Plant Industry, Adelaide) and has attracted industry interest and in-kind support from Houghton Wines in WA.

The project’s focus is on understanding the environmental influences that drive flavour formation in grapes to increase awareness of the limitations of vineyard/region in the development of grape aroma for wine production. It will enable Robinson to “provide more conclusive information on the role of grape derived aroma compounds in wine aroma, develop linkages with sensory researchers in the U.S. and introduce new sensory research skills into the Australian grape and wine research community”.

Robinson who completed a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) in Horticulture and Viticulture at the UWA, has also had first hand experience in the wine industry having worked for a number of wineries and vineyards within Australia and New Zealand. He also sits on the Wine Industry National Environmental Committee (WINEC) as a representative of the WA wine industry, provides technical support for the W.A. Wine Industry Association, and maintains strong ties with WA regional wine shows along with the Perth and Sydney Royal Wine Shows.

Robinson has previously received a number of academic awards including; Young Achiever of the Year Award from the Wine Industry Association of WA (2007); Walter Harper Prize by FNAS, UWA (2004); the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Student Prize for UWA (2004); and second prize in the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (WA Branch) Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum (2003).

His future aspirations are to continue pursuing knowledge through research and reinvesting this into the Australian and international wine and agricultural industries. “I feel that furthering professional, social and cultural linkages between organisations within the US and Western Australia is essential in today’s international environment.”

The prestigious Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind, created by US Senator J William Fulbright and the US Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the US and 150 countries. In Australia, the scholarships are funded by the Australian and US Governments and corporate partners and administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Canberra.

“It is intended that the sensory work conducted in the US on my Fulbright Scholarship will make clear the role that grape derived flavour compounds play in the perceived aroma of wine. This is particularly valuable to the WA wine industry where Regionality plays a significant role in product differentiation,” Robinson said.

Robinson is one of 24 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2008. Applications for Fulbright Scholarships in 2009 open on 1 June, visit www.fulbright.com.au



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