Students with an eye on a future in New Zealand’s cutting edge primary and science industries have an opportunity to ease the financial burden of study with one of four Ballance Agri-Nutrients scholarships.
The scholarships provide $4000 a year for up to three years and are open to immediate family members of Ballance shareholders or company employees. They are for students wanting to study at tertiary level in either the general primary industry field or in process engineering.
Ballance Research and Development Manager Warwick Catto says New Zealand scientists are developing world-leading capabilities in agricultural technology, animal health and also food technology.
"Our economy is inextricably linked to maximising the use of our land and we’re very good at it," says Mr Catto.
"Our primary industries need high quality people who study hard to solve very real world problems both today in our fields and paddocks and also in the future. Our scholarships make a real contribution."
Mr Catto says Ballance is heavily committed to the development of science in New Zealand and also science extension, which is about the practical application of new and existing ideas and technology on farm.
Nearly 60 students have benefited from the Ballance scholarship programme since 2002.
One of the earliest recipients was William Kelton whose parents have a small dry stock farm west of Hamilton in the Waikato.
Mr Kelton gained his Bachelor and then Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from Canterbury University. In 2008 he was awarded a Fullbright scholarship which enabled him to apply for a position at the University of Texas in Austin completing a PhD in its chemical engineering programme.
"The Ballance scholarship was pretty useful in allowing me to get here," says Mr Kelton.
"A lot of students face some big student loans which puts a lot of pressure on them to go straight into the workforce."
Mr Kelton says removing some of that financial pressure provided opportunity which means he is able to study in Austin.
"I’m working in the biotechnology side of the department on antibody engineering. We’re looking at optimising the function of the antibody so it works with the immune system more efficiently."
Mr Kelton has another year before concluding the research towards his PhD before returning to New Zealand.
"I’m hoping the skills I’ve developed will apply to other agricultural problems, such as vaccine development, when I get back."
Applications for the Ballance scholarship opened on 1 September 2012 and close on 28 October 2012. For more details or to apply, visit www.ballance.co.nz
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