Dr Bruce Pengelly

Dr Pengelly’s research focus for more than 50 years has been on tropical and subtropical farming systems, highlighting plant diversity and tropical forages genetic resources adaptation and the use of tropical and sub-tropical forages in mixed farming systems in Australia, Africa and Indonesia.

After completing a Queensland Diploma in Agriculture of the Queensland Agricultural College in 1968, a Bachelor of Science at James Cook University, he then returned to The University of Queensland to complete his PhD in 1994.

From 1982 to 2000 he was curator and manager of the Australian Tropical Forages Genetic Resources Centre – then the largest and most diverse collection of tropical forages in the world.

Appointed as Program Leader of the CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Program on Agricultural Landscapes in 2003 and then Assistant Chief of the Division in 2008, he was instrumental in forming the successful international Tropical Forages Database.

He became Partnership Leader of the AUSAID-CSIRO Food Security Initiative in July 2010, where he remained until his retirement in July 2013.

With passion and drive to see his knowledge and expertise shared, Dr Pengelly launched a second career-life, undertaking multiple consultancy roles to apply his significant expertise to the global hotspots where it was needed most.

Dr Pengelly is recognised for his advice on international agricultural research-for-development, including leading reviews of major research projects in Timor Leste and Africa; the Swedish International Development Agency and Biosciences for East and Central Africa; and more recently, as consultant to the Global Crop Diversity Trust to develop and contribute to implementing a Global Strategy for Tropical Forage Genetic Resources.

He has described the species diversity of at least 10 major tropical forage genera and species, which has ultimately contributed to the commercial release of new pasture cultivars to Australian tropical livestock industries.

He has led research and development projects in Indonesia, East Timor, the cracking black soils of Queensland and New South Wales; and has introduced vital livestock improvement strategies in West, southern and Central Africa.

Dr Pengelly is a CSIRO Lifetime Achievement Medallist and 2011 Medal of ‘Officier de l’Ordre National du Burkina Faso’ winner, and his scientific and professional appointments are numerous, being on farming advisory boards throughout Australia, and currently on the selection committee of the Churchill Fellows Association of Queensland.


Gatton Gold Medal


Queensland Diploma in Agriculture of the Queensland Agricultural College
Doctor of Philosophy