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Debate@The Waite

Gentically modified crop being examined during research

Enhancing the public's engagement with agricultural science

The Debate@The Waite is a public event series which aims to engage the broader community in agricultural issues. The debate format provides an ideal vehicle for engagement because many agricultural issues are complex and involve both scientific and social aspects.

Six experts in two teams will argue for your vote ... will you be for or against?

The Debate@The Waite held on the evening of Tuesday 21 October 2014 was on the topic 'The GM debate should only be about the science', and explored how we might have avoided the controversy, polarised arguments and misinformation around this important branch of agricultural science. Attended and watched online by at least 135 people, this debate pitted the scientists against the science communicators, but also covered all the main issues around GM, proving instructive and enlightening!

Both teams argued their case well and the debate was declared a draw.

The podcast of this debate can be accessed on the Harvest webpage at

The Debate@The Waite series has now been discontinued until further notice.


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  • Debate Format
    Dr Paul Willis, Director RiAus

    Dr Paul Willis, Director RiAus

    The debates are based on traditional Oxford rules, consisting of two teams that argue for or against a proposition with the audience voting to decide the winning team.

    Our regular moderator is the Director, Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) Link to external website, Dr Paul Willis. The Waite Research Institute (WRI) values its partnership with the RiAus in engaging the community in issues in agriculture.

  • Previous Debates

    The Debate@The Waite series is organised by the Waite Research Institute (WRI) and co-sponsored by the WRI and the Royal Institution of Australia.

    Since its commencement in August 2011, the series has gathered a strong regular following. Each debate has included speakers from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, other faculties at The University of Adelaide, the Waite partner organisations and representatives from the relevant industries.

    The topics of the debates run to date are:


    • August: Increasing agricultural production is the only sure way to feed 9 billion people by 2050
    • November: Agriculture should be exempt from greenhouse gas reduction schemes


    • March: The future of the Australian wine industry will be based on technology, not tradition
    • June: Australian cities need Australian farmers
    • October: Every Australian child should be taught Agriculture at school


    • March: Cutting Australia's meat consumption by half will be better for us and the planet
    • July: Australia's soils are more fertile now than they've ever been
    • October: Grape and wine quality doesn't matter - it's marketing that sells wine!
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Waite Research Institute