Young Dairy Scientist Award winner 2020 – John Gardenier

Delving deep into a cow buffet, investigating the use of ‘sea cheese’, preventing lameness, rearing young stock and bobby calf beef production were amongst the exploratory scientific discussions at ADC 2020.

Australian’s brightest young emerging dairy scientists have put forth their latest research to a national contingent as part of the Young Dairy Scientist Award at the Australian Dairy Conference (ADC) in Melbourne.

Considered as an esteemed pathway for aspiring early-stage scientists, the Young Dairy Science Award sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, provides early-age scientists an environment to present, discuss and connect with leading dairy farmers and industry from around the country.

From a field of five finalists, John Gardenier from The University of Sydney was awarded the winner at the ADC Gala Dinner in Melbourne on Thursday 20 February after finalists had pitched their research findings to more than 500 delegates at ADC 2020 Melbourne.

Mr Gardenier presented a piece of work titled ‘How now lame cow – automatic lameness detection’ that looked at taking existing technologies and machine vision, such as used in an X Box, to track and scan the gait of cows to detect and monitor lameness.

ADC Scientific Director and ‘Young Dairy Scientist Award’ Coordinator Richard Rawnsley said the Award has become a notable high-level tertiary competition for emerging researchers offering an opportunity to showcase their research at a broader industry level and to the ultimate end-users, dairy farmers.

“The intention of the Young Dairy Scientist Award is to put the spotlight on new and emerging research that has the capacity to contribute to the future competitiveness of the Australian dairy industry,” he said.

“The Award is designed to nurture scientific excellence and the young scientists must convince fellow dairy farmers and scientists that their research is soundly based and has exciting implications for the future of the dairy industry,” he said.

“Each young scientist must prepare a written article, present to Conference and prepare an exhibit for display at Conference. The scientist with the highest combined scores is awarded a $3,000 travel bursary to further their field of study,” said Mr Rawnsley.

“The travel bursary is a significant prize offering the young scientist the opportunity to attend leading forums and workshops around the globe with considerable advancements for their learning and knowledge acquisition,” Mr Rawnsley outlined.

“Funding to extend their field of study is particularly important for these emerging scientists and the bursary has had a definitive impact on the careers of previous winners of the Award,” he said.


  • Ariestya Arlene Arbita, University of New South Wales
  • John Gardenier, University of Sydney
  • Kieran Ison, University of Queensland
  • Sarah Mac, University of Sydney
  • Veronika Vicic, Charles Sturt University

John Gardenier

John completed a BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering in 2014 at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. After working in automation, robotics, and flight simulation, he commenced a PhD in 2016 at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at The University of Sydney. John’s PhD thesis focussed on automatic lameness detection in dairy cattle using the latest advances in two of his key interests, machine vision and deep learning, in order to solve a real-world problem facing the dairy industry.

Young Dairy Scientist Award at ADC 2020 Melbourne is proudly supported by Boehringer Ingelheim.