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The Leaflet May 2011

simon says...

As you all can expect, the last few months have been busy as we draft the re-bid to be submitted on 1 July. The activities have been very positive and it is clear that we are developing a stronger bid than that submitted in 2010. The support and need for the CRC to be re-funded is stronger with our total commitment now exceeding that included in our 2010 bid.

The Core Team have been meeting weekly and a constant diary of meetings with key individuals has been maintained. If the bid process was determined by support and need alone then we would be across the line already.

In 2010 we were not able to formalise the strong linkage we have had with NZ over the last five years but this has now changed. Both Plant and Food Research and Lincoln University have now committed to participate in the CRC with strong support from B3. This formalising of the cross Tasman partnership will enhance our bid.

Added to the new NZ commitments are the continued strong support from our other international partners Kansas State University and CABI. The US Department of Agriculture has also provided a strong letter of support for the bid through their Center for Plant Health Science and Technology.

Over the past month there has been discussions regarding the establishment of a Biosecurity Flagship by CSIRO. The CRC has had a number of discussions with CSIRO and we believe this provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our bid. The CRC, if funded, will assist in developing this new flagship which will be focussed on key aspects of plant biosecurity research and when the new term of the CRC is completed the flagship will represent a key component of our legacy. Please note my optimism that the re-bid will be successful.

Last week I attended the Australasian Plant Pathology Conference in Darwin. The CRC was a major sponsor of the conference and it was very rewarding to see the number of presentations that represented the research undertaken by our CRC. One of our PhD students Alistair McTaggart was awarded the Allan Kerr prize at the conference. The prize is awarded by the Australasian Plant Pathology Society for the best piece of original research relevant to Australasia by a postgraduate student in the field of plant pathology. I also congratulate Alistair for completing his PhD with his thesis now accepted.

I would also like to congratulate Nicole Hammond whose thesis was also accepted in April and Paul Royce who submitted his thesis last week. Hopefully my space in the leaflet will be nearly filled in future issues with me listing PhD completions. Just a small hint to our other candidates who are busily writing their theses and chasing submission dates. More information is available as part of the Education and Training update.

Over the last weekend I visited Kununurra in Western Australia with Jim Stack from Kansas State University. The Ord region, that encompasses Kununurra, is the only region in the world that has developed a regional biosecurity plan that aims to engage all sectors of the community in protecting their valuable agricultural and environmental resource. This was a good opportunity for Jim to see how the plan is being implemented. Our guide for the two days was Lachlan Dobson who was awarded the inaugural Biosecurity Farmer of the Year award in 2010. Lachlan is a strong advocate for plant biosecurity and has been actively involved in the CRC from our commencement. 

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

in this issue...

from the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett takes a humerous look back at how history has repeated itself over the past century. Read more.

digital diagnostics expand global surveillance

Gary Kong and Michael Thompson were part of the CRCNPB team who attended the Asian Association of Societies for Plant Pathology (AASPP) and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society (APPS) conference in Darwin from 27-29 April, at which they provided a demonstration of the remote microscope network. Find out more about what the remote microscopes network is achieving in Australia and abroad.

research to contain banana wilt infection 

Recent cyclones and floods in Queensland have impacted greatly on Australia’s banana industry; however the industry is not just affected by the threat of these natural disasters. Read more about the Fusarium fungal pathogen, which in recent years has devastated the Northern Territory’s banana industry.

PaDIL website receives facelift

The PaDIL website has been relaunched with a number of enhanced features. Find out more about what’s new. 

Social networking arrives at the CRCNPB

The CRCNPB has discovered the world of social networking. Read more about how you can get involved.


other news...

Flying planes through the Adelaide Hills is one of Barry Windle's hobbies while stepping away from his Board duties. Find out about his other interests here.

Three students have either submitted their thesis for examination or had it accepted. Find out who in the latest Education and Training update.  

The CRCNPB is providing sponsorship for the ninth Australian Banana Industry Congress at the Hyatt Regency on the Sunshine Coast from 1-4 June 2011. For more information, visit the banana congress website.