Biochar research pioneer honoured with national award

26/03/2024 | 2 mins

A lifelong passion for making a tangible difference through science has led The University of Western Australia’s Dr Zakaria Solaiman to receive the 2024 Australia New Zealand Biochar Industry Group (ANZBIG) Forum Best Research Award.

Soil scientist Dr Solaiman has been a Senior Research Fellow with the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment and The UWA Institute of Agriculture for almost two decades.

The National Biochar Awards, held in Perth last week, recognise the achievements, innovation, entrepreneurship, and best practice in the Australian and New Zealand biochar industry. Dr Solaiman said he was deeply honoured and humbled to accept the award.

“This recognition validates the hard work and dedication I have invested in my research and PhD student supervision and highlights the significance of our contributions to the field,” he said.

“It is a powerful motivation to continue striving for excellence and innovation, reinforcing the impact and importance of my research in advancing knowledge and solving real-world problems.”

UWA Senior Research Fellow Dr Zakaria SolaimanImage: UWA Senior Research Fellow Dr Zakaria Solaiman with his award.

The conversion of waste into biochar presents an innovative waste management solution.

It has the potential to revolutionise sustainable agriculture, reduce greenhouse gases and promote a cleaner environment, significantly contributing to United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals and fostering a healthier planet for future generations.

Dr Solaiman said he was first drawn to the field of biochar research due to the critical need for eco-friendly solutions to environmental degradation and agricultural sustainability.

“The pivotal moment came when I learned about biochar’s ability to improve soil health while sequestering carbon, a perfect blend of environmental and agricultural benefits,” he said.

“This dual impact, which is beneficial for the planet and food security, ignited my passion.

“It steered my academic pursuits towards making a tangible difference through science.”

The UWA Institute of Agriculture Director Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique said Dr Solaiman was richly deserving of the national award.

“This is a powerful recognition of Zakaria’s achievements, in particular his pioneering work on biochar in collaboration with industry,” Professor Siddique said.

Media references

Rosanna Candler (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 1650

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