President’s Report – 2001


This past year has been a case of ‘steady as we go’ for the Foundation.  We have managed the usual round of grant applications plus we ventured into the new area of offering Special Grants in support of researchers and industry partners applying for ‘partnership grants’.

Two additional projects from last year’s application round have now been funded:
Mr. Bruce Webber and Dr Ian Woodrow (University of Melbourne)
Genetic diversity in the rare tropical tree Ryparossa javanica. ($7,800)
Miss Tanya Orscheg (University of Melbourne)
Seed longevity and viability in plant species of Box-Ironbark forest.  ($4,949)

The three new projects approved for funding in 2002 are:
Prof. Margaret Sedgley  (University of Adelaide)
Development of somatic embryogenesis as a propagation method for ornamental for hybrid eucalypts.  ($21,990 over 2 years).
Dr. Andrew Rosenfelds  (Tasmanian Herbarium)
The horticultural potential of an endangered species, the Freycinet Wax Flower from Eastern Tasmania. ($14,520 over 2 years)
Mr David Duncan  (Australian National University)
Pollination and fruit production of native species in fragmented remnant vegetation. ($10,438)

Previously funded projects are progressing.  A number of these were summarised in a Research Report circulated during the year.  Additional reports received since then will be covered in the next Research Report early in the new year.  The Council is also keen to make the full reports widely available.  Previous attempts to provide printed copies on request proved impractical to manage.  We now request that reports be submitted electronically so that in future they can be accessed via the AFF Web page.

Speaking of Web pages, this is another project that is now progressing.  We have the basic structure worked out and hopefully our volunteer Web designers will be able to create a suitable site to be launched in 2002.

The other important AFF award is the Student Prize.  This year the prize was shared between two students, Mr. Mark Harris  from the University of Queensland and Mr. John Porter from the University of New England. (see reports below)

Membership of the Foundation has been static in recent years.  The membership provides the backbone of the Foundation.  Subscriptions  cover our very modest operating costs; all funds donated to the Research Fund go directly to the grants.  Members can play an important role in promoting the objectives of the Foundation.  Last but not least, the members of the Council are elected from the membership. They do all the work in a voluntary capacity.

 We continued to receive strong support from the Australian Plants groups and other individual donors to the Research Fund.  These donations, combined with income from several invested bequests, sustain the research program.

During 2001 we have missed the input from our Hon. Secretary Val Williams who has taken time out to attend to other pressing matters.  Our Treasurer of some year, Charles Morris, has also indicated his desire to step down from this role in the near future.  We have an ongoing need for people to drive our fund raising activities.  So there are always opportunities for other members to provide some ‘new blood’ on the Council.  It is an advantage if Councillors can attend the meetings in Sydney (3 or 4 times a year) but you can still make a valuable contribution from a distance.

So, the Foundation has a secure base for its research program but there is much scope for building upon the current modest fund.

Professor Richard Williams