IT TOOK Southern Cross University research fellow and former Alstonville High student Dr Terry Rose 15 years to return to the Northern Rivers after an exceptional career as an agronomist, and we're lucky to have him back.
Last year the soil expert netted an astonishing $4 million in collaborative grants on behalf of Southern Cross Plant Science.
He's one of many world-class researchers who are today earning the university a global reputation - in areas as diverse as marine and environmental science, children and youth studies, tourism and health.
Dr Rose finished school at Alstonville High before graduating with a science degree at the University of Sydney.
"After graduation I worked as an extension agronomist for NSW Department of Agriculture in Wagga Wagga and later the Hunter Valley providing agronomic advice to farmers," he said.
"In 2003, I moved to the United Kingdom and worked for a private agronomic firm conducting field trials across England and Wales before returning to Australia to undertake a PhD in Plant Nutrition and Soil Science at the University of Western Australia."
After an 18-month stint as a post-doc in Japan working on phosphate nutrition of rice, Dr Rose returned to Australia and worked in plant biosecurity in Canberra for a not-for-profit company, Plant Health Australia.
He returned to the Northern Rivers in August, 2011, to start his position with SCU.
"It's been great to be back in the Northern Rivers, close to family, and being involved in a farming area that has such diversity," Dr Rose said.
"My colleagues are leaders in their field and the research facilities are second-to-none."
Director of Research at SCU Leigh Sullivan said the university's research prioritised regionally relevant issues that were also globally significant.
"We do research on a level that's world-class," Professor Sullivan said.
"If you're talking about local problems, there's the water quality issues in the Richmond River. SCU is working with every council along the river to try and improve water quality. We've got the best researchers in the world working on that problem, and they're providing some of the best scientific solutions in the world."