You are here: Home > Travel reports > PRATIQUE meeting, Kleinmachnow, Germany

PRATIQUE meeting, Kleinmachnow, Germany

Dr Peter Whittle travelled to the United Kingdom to visit Imperial College, London (ICL), to develop a collaborative project on systems approaches and to participate in the third PRATIQUE meeting held in Kleinmachnow, Germany.

The meeting at ICL involved Megan Quinlan, Professor Kerrie Mengersen and Professor John Mumford and colleagues. The purpose of the meeting was to review progress and plan work within PRATIQUE on using Bayesian Belief Networks (BBNs) for developing Systems Approaches (SAs) under ISPM No 14. The ICL team is charged by PRATIQUE to investigate adoption and use of SAs. ICL has done preliminary work and we have been communicating with them on this.

Our plan for the project is to develop BBNs for SAs two pests of mutual interest to Australia and Europe as a way of developing the concept and methodology. Further plans were subject to outcomes at the PRATIQUE meeting and other factors such as time and funding opportunities; ICL have no further funding at present and a new project would be required.

The PRATIQUE meeting involved 51 participants from numerous countries, presenting and discussing work in the first 18 months of this Europe wide project to enhance pest risk analysis (PRA) methods. This is a critical time given the three year project duration and tight reporting requirements. Across the six work packages (WPs), there is a great deal of activity, compiling materials and datasets and developing the first versions of tools for their analysis.

Key impressions included:

  • The basis for PRA in Europe differs fundamentally from Australia’s, in focusing on the pest instead of the commodity/pathway. PRAs are compiled quickly by expert panels using questionnaires. The datasets and tools compiled in PRATIQUE will support this.
  • Datasets and tools in preparation will potentially be of value to Australia in its PRA activities and in ABIN and should be monitored.
  • Progress is being made with BBNs in PRA, but they are obscure to many in the audience and communication is critical. Their use is being explored for PRA and systems approaches, but they were not well received at this meeting.
  • The dataset for eradication programs includes no recent/current Australian examples.
  • The focus for surveillance was mostly on detection techniques and none on statistical design. 

The travel proved of value in learning about alternative approaches to PRA and making contacts in the field in Europe. Subsequently I assisted by providing information about Australian eradication projects. We have not pursued the SA project at this time, due to time constraints at ICL and QUT, but have established the groundwork for future collaboration and will continue to seek project opportunities and engagement in Australian SA work using BBNs.


When: February 2009

Peter Whittle travelled to the United Kingdom to visit Imperial College, London and to Germany to participate in the third PRATIQUE meeting.