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The Leaflet

simon says...

In only a few days the seven year journey that has been CRCNPB will morph into the PBCRC and start the next term. It is a time to reflect on the significant achievements over the seven years as well as consider the many things we can still achieve in the future.

In seven years we have gone from a centre with a Board, a CEO, a science committee and a rented office, without any furniture, to a globally recognised research centre that has been successful in achieving a second term. We have created a strong research network that not only covers Australia, but also numerous other countries. The PBCRC illustrates our strong international network with several participants outside Australia. Biosecurity is a global issue and the problems we face in Australia are no different to other countries and it is only logical that we collaborate beyond our shores.

Our research efforts have been very diverse and have resulted in a large number of publications that include papers in high impact factor journals. It has been positive to see the strong desire of researchers to publish their work in peer reviewed journals and we will continue to strongly encourage this. The other objective of successful research in a CRC is to produce a deliverable that is of value to our end-users and will be readily adopted. Successful delivery and adoption is often cited as requiring 10 years from completion of research activities but it has been positive to see that many CRCNPB project deliverables are already being readily adopted into the Australian biosecurity system. While we have been successful over the past seven years this is an area where we can continue to improve and the research team will work actively with all researchers to ensure we maximise delivery and adoption potential for all project deliverables. I thank the efforts of Dr James Ridsdill-Smith, Principal Scientist, Dr David Eagling, Research leader, and all the Program Leaders who contributed to make the current CRC a success.

Alongside the research activities of the CRC has been a very successful education and training program led by Dr Kirsty Bayliss. We are still on track to complete at least 32 PhDs in the CRC with the last theses to be submitted before 31 December this year. The standard of theses submitted has been high and a positive outcome is the high proportion of completed candidates that are now employed in the biosecurity field. Kirsty will continue this role with PBCRC and I am sure we will continue to attract the same high calibre of students. The program has also contributed to many training activities and the CRC was the largest investor in the development of the Plant Biosecurity curriculum that is delivered by university members of the CRC.

A few weeks ago we completed the last Science Exchange for CRCNPB. As usual this was an event that showcased the success of the CRC as well as providing an opportunity for researcher and end-user engagement. The CRC has already commenced the planning for the next like-event which we hope will be even more popular than those held to date.

The Commonwealth Agreement has been executed and in the coming weeks all signatures for the Participants Agreement will have been received allowing it to be executed and the CRC to be formally underway. It is important that we focus on the key objectives of the centre; 1) to be a cooperative research centre (collaboration between researchers from different organisations is the key), and 2) that all research is end-user driven (we do not want to undertake research that simply ends up on the shelf collecting dust). The CRC is the melding of 26 participants that are working collectively to improve plant biosecurity. The inclusion of our new participants from NZ, USA, Indonesia and the UK – along with our collaborative agreements with China – will provide the focus on plant biosecurity at a global level.

So many people have contributed to the success of the CRC to date, with far too many to name individually. However, I would like to thank the Board, the CRC staff, the Science Committee, participant representatives and all researchers and students who have made the trip an enjoyable ride so far. Let’s maintain the strong teamwork and deliver even better outcomes over the next six years.

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett gets a touch nostalgic in his final Leaflet copy for the CRCNPB.

SX celebrates seven successful year

In late May the CRCNPB had its final Science Exchange, with over 180 delegates in attendance. Find out more here.

Awards highlight outstanding research

A number of researchers were recognised at the Science Exchange Awards Dinner for their outstanding contribution to plant biosecurity. Find out who won the awards here.

PBCRC to launch new website 

The PBCRC is about to launch a new website. Find out how to access the PBCRC website here.

Chinese collaboration builds for PBCRC 

The CRC’s collaboration with China continues to grow. Learn about the latest developments.

CRC news updates 

If you haven’t already heard, the PBCRC has started a new update service called The Bud. Sign up here.

other news...

A number of events will be held soon which relate to the PBCRC. Find out what’s coming up here.

Matthew Tan has submitted his PhD thesis for examination. Find out which student is about to follow suit in the Education and Training update.

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

simon says...

The Science Exchange (SX) is now just three weeks away and an impressive program has been compiled. There will be over 180 delegates with good representation from our international Participants, with delegates are coming from the US, NZ and Indonesia. We also have a strong compliment from China which will be a strong collaborator in the future. This year’s event will not only close the current term of CRCNPB but will give us the opportunity to kick start PBCRC. Max and Andrew have made a concerted effort to make this the best SX yet so I look forward to meeting everyone at the Vines and celebrating the success we have had to date and discussing the research challenges that are in front of us.

Nick has worked hard to develop an agreed version of the Participants Agreement. As I write we are expecting to receive, at any time, the approved version from DIISRTE that will then be circulated to all Participants for signing. With the Agreement signed the CRC will then sign the Commonwealth Agreement, target date of end of May, and the CRC will commence its new term on 1 July. Running alongside this is the development of a strong research portfolio.

As everyone is aware the program workshops were held and this was an important step in the process of identifying project ideas. As with any CRC, it is critical that any research undertaken is end-user driven. Over the past two months both the Grains and Horticulture Advisory Panels (GAP and HAP) have met and both panels will play an important role in making sure any project ideas address end-user needs and have the potential to deliver a valuable outcome. The third advisory panel, the Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP), will formally meet for the first time in early June. The existing government Plant Health Committee will be the RAP for the CRC.

To assist in building the research portfolio the CRC has appointed two Program Coordinators. I am delighted to announce that Drs Jo Luck and Sharyn Taylor have accepted these roles. I expect that the majority of our research team will already know both Jo and Sharyn. Jo will take responsibility for Programs 1 and 2 and Sharyn will look after Programs 3 and 4. These appointments will enable the Program Leaders to focus on science leadership. Both Jo and Sharyn will be at the SX and I encourage everyone to welcome them into their new roles.

I congratulate Pattaraporn Khuwuthyakorn on submitting her PhD. This PhD emphasised the broad scope of research undertaken by our PhD candidates and the potential to work collaboratively with other Australian research organisations. Patt’s PhD was also supported by NICTA Australia. Alex Rea has also submitted his thesis which was a joint effort between the CRC and Murdoch University. As Kirsty has mentioned in her update there are several other PhD candidates who are very close to submitting and I encourage all of you to complete the final writing.

See you at the SX.

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

Autumn is in the air and Professor John Lovett thinks it is a time that reflects the CRC's activities.

Fire blight simulation

A ‘war gaming’ workshop was recently held to simulate a fire blight incursion in the Goulburn Valley. Read about it here. 

New starters for PBCRC

Two Program Coordinators are joining the CRC team. Find out who they are here. 

CRC news updates 

The CRCNPB is revising the way it provides news updates. Sign up now.

Countdown to SX 2012

The Science Exchange (SX) is just a few weeks away, find out what is on the program here.

Love is in the air at the CRCNPB

A wedding and an engagement have taken place in the past two months, find out who.

other news...

The CRCNPB has a new Management Accountant. Find out who she is and what keeps her busy. 

Expressions of interest are now being sought for PBCRC PhD candidates

With the PBCRC launch just around the corner, the CRCNPB office has had a fun look at new program icons. Do you have any suggestions??

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

simon says...

2012 has arrived with a rush and it is hard to believe we are already in the second half of February. As the Chairman has informed a considerable task at present is the development and acceptance of the Participants Agreement and Commonwealth Agreement. Both of these agreements must be in place before the Australian government will release their commitment to the CRC. The timelines set by the CRC program to achieve these tasks are tight with the Participants Agreement and Commonwealth Agreement needing to be signed by 21 May 2012. I thank our Participant representatives who are ensuring we make these deadlines.

Visiting our Participant organisations is a high priority at present and the Chairman, Nick Langley and I will continue to travel over the next few months to ensure we get to every participant. Last week Nick Langley and I visited Kansas State University (KSU) to progress discussions in regard to the Participants Agreement and to meet with all relevant staff. This was a very successful visit and the inclusion of KSU is a significant gain for the CRC. In a few weeks time the CRC will be visiting another two of our new International participants in Plant and Food Research New Zealand and Lincoln University. Like KSU the inclusion of our colleagues across the Tasman is an important addition to the CRC. The Chairman and I will be meeting with our CABI colleagues in early April.

A critical point in the preparation for the extension of our CRC is the upcoming Program workshops. The dates for these have been widely circulated and I encourage you to register if you have not already done so. The purpose of these workshops is to provide any researcher from a participant organisation the opportunity to be engaged in the development of project ideas. The workshops will be facilitated and the aim is to have generated collaborative project ideas that can be included in the research program commencing on 1 July 2012. The project ideas must address both the objectives of the CRC and the needs of our end-users and be a collaboration between multiple CRC participants as well as demonstrate excellence in science. Each project must also have a clear delivery and adoption plan developed to ensure we achieve value for our end-users.

Our Science Committee is already very active and the Program Leaders are working to build their research programs. The first set of projects is the four exemplars submitted as part of the bid. We aim to have them start on 1 July 2012. These, however, are just the start and there is a large portfolio of projects that still need to be developed to ensure we have a full portfolio of research by the end of this calendar year.

Planning for the Science Exchange is progressing well. Current registration numbers are 155 and there is still the opportunity for a small number of late registrations. In particular I am keen to see more end-users attending as it is an ideal opportunity to view and gain a better understanding of the breadth of research undertaken by the CRC. It also provides an opportunity to meet with the researchers and provide input to their efforts.

The CRC welcomed a new staff member this week when Marcia Murray commencing her role as Management Accountant. I welcome Marcia to the team.

The next few months will continue at the same brisk pace as we approach the 1 July start date for the extension. I seek your continued support in making sure we achieve signing of all documentation by this start date and that all researchers focus on developing collaborative research ideas that address our objectives and delivery real benefits for our end-users.

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett would like everyone to carry on cooperating as the CRCNPB moves into the PBCRC. 

Workshops to develop project ideas

The CRC has organised a series of Program workshops to provide researchers from participant organisations the opportunity to be engaged in the development of project ideas. Learn more here.

Science Exchange preparations in full swing

The 2012 Science Exchange is fast approaching, have you registered?

PhD student off to Japan after winning scholarship

Congratulations to PhD candidate Matthew Tan, of Murdoch University, who has won an APPS Australia-Japan Foundation scholarship. Find out how here.

Congratulations to the Coventrys 

Congratulations to the Coventry family on the birth of their second child. Find out more here.

Have you found us on Twitter? 

Tweet tweet, the CRCNPB is on Twitter. Find out how to find us here.

other news...

The CRCNPB’s new Principal Scientist enjoys travel to Italy. Find out who it is and what they enjoy about Italy here.

Students continue to take on postgraduate courses in biosecurity. Learn more about the courses here.

Discover how to submit an image to be used as part of the CRCNPB caption competition here. 

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

simon says...

As everyone is now aware we were successful with our bid and it is a very welcome Christmas present for everyone. This is a great outcome and is a result of the significant effort made by everyone in the CRC over the past six years.

Now we have less than six months to prepare the documentation and submit signed agreements to DIISRT. This will ensure we are up and running as the Plant Biosecurity CRC on 1 July 2012. Timelines and the first drafts have recently been forwarded to all Participant representatives.

Myself and Nick will be visiting all participants in the next few months to finalise the documentation. At the same time our Science Committee, led by Bill Roberts, will commence the process of pulling together the research programme. We will communicate the details of the process for developing the research programme in the new year. Through the four research programmes the CRC will continue to undertake world leading plant biosecurity research that is of benefit to Australia.

Being successful in a CRC round has become an increasingly more difficult process as the level of competition has increased and available funds have decreased. We would not have achieved the success this year without the help of many people. Again I thank everyone who contributed to the achievement.

Our PhDs continue to progress and Alex Rea recently submitted his thesis. A very promising statistic is that of the 10 that have currently completed their PhDs, nine are still active in biosecurity.

Our 2012 Science Exchange will be a great event as we celebrate the success of the CRCNPB and look to the future through the PBCRC. It is hoped that we will have a good mix of researchers, regulators and industry at the Science Exchange so I encourage everyone to submit their registrations as early as possible. If you have somehow missed the mail outs please contact Max or Andrew.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone in the CRC family. I look forward to catching up with you in 2012.

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer








in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett has Christmas on his mind and believes the CRC has every reason to be jolly this festive season.  

RMN wins the inaugural Innovation Award

The Remote Microscope Network has received another award, winning the inaugural Australian Innovation Challenge Award. Read more here

UAVs take centre stage at innovation showcase

The CRCNPB recently displayed a UAV at the Innovation in Australia showcase in Brisbane. Find out about the display here.

Principal Scientist wins Howard Medal

Congratulations to the CRCNPB’s Principal Scientist, Dr James Ridsdill-Smith, for winning the Howard Medal. Read more about the award here. 

CRCNPB staff team building 

CRCNPB staff members took part in two days on team building in November. Find out the whacky things that went on.

Minister change for innovation 

The Hon Kim Carr is no longer the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. He says thanks to all those he has worked with here

 other news...

Another CRCNPB baby has entered the world. Find out who the mother is here.

Since joining the CRCNPB, Max Knobel has spent most of her time focussed on rebids. However with the rebid over, she now has more time to focus on her role as Communications Manager. Discover how she spends her time away from the office here.

Enrolments for the 2012 Grain Storage and Biosecurity Training Program are now open. Find out more in the Education and Training update.

CRCNPB team building brought on some interesting photo opportunities, which feature along with the previous winner in this edition of the newsletter.

The Board and staff from the CRCNPB would like to wish everyone a happy and safe festive season.

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

simon says...

Having got past the challenge of completing and submitting the four exemplar projects the office and Core Team focussed our efforts on preparing a presentation for the interview.

Last Monday we received reviews of all four projects and in general they were very positive. The reviewers provided statements such as:

…a lot of novel research

…more than repay the total investment in the CRC

…important and critical for safeguarding trade

…fantastic touch to the CRC

If these are any indication of the quality of our bid then our probability of success is looking good. 

As John has eloquently discussed, last week saw us complete two ‘mock’ interviews. These are a great way to iron out the creases and fine tune the brain to answer unexpected questions. I would also like to thank John Radcliffe, Joanne Daly and Tony Peacock who assisted the CRC through the ‘mock’ process.

Following our interview on Monday (7 November 2011), I posted a blog to provide an update of how the interview went. The news on the outcome of our bid should be known by Christmas.

Submission of PhDs continues with another two submitted in recent months. Bonny Vogelzang and David Savage have both submitted their theses and you can read more about them in this edition of The Leaflet. I congratulate both of them on this achievement and expect to see many more before the end of the year. A very encouraging statistic is the number of graduates who are now employed in the biosecurity field. One of the key objectives of the CRC was to inject the next generation of experts into the system.

Last month I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit China and have discussions with colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Grain, the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine and the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University. We look forward to developing strong linkages with these organisations that are developing impressive capabilities in biosecurity sciences.

Also another reminder that the 2012 Science Exchange will open soon and I encourage everyone to register early so we can advance the planning.

Keep your fingers crossed for a positive result from our interview.

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett has had a tough first week back from holidays. Find out which CRCNPB staff have been harrassing him. 

CRCNPB signs MOUs with China

The CRCNPB has developed memoranda of understanding with two leading Chinese science agencies and a university. Read about it here.

RMN takes out Premier’s Award 

The Remote Microscope Network has received its second award for 2011, winning a Premier’s Award. Find out more.

What on earth is the Chairman sitting on?

In the caption competition in this edition of The Leaflet, the Chairman finds himself sitting on something out of the ordinary. Find out what it is and who won the prize from the last newsletter here.

CRC newborns 

A CRCNPB staff member and a CRCNPB PhD candidate recently added to their respective families with the birth of a baby girl and boy. Find out who??

other news...

CRCNPB Communications Officer Andrew Crichton joined the team in January 2011. Discover how he spends his spare time.

Another edition of The Leaflet and another submission, or two, or three… Find out more.

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

simon says...

The office and Science Taskforce are working feverishly this week to complete the four exemplar projects which will be submitted on 15 September. This flurry of activity has occurred following the great news last week that we have made it to the next stage of the CRC selection round.

Following the submission of the four exemplars we will start the preparation of a presentation to be presented at our interview. We need to submit an exemplar for each of our programs and the projects are focussed on severe weather events, bacterial diagnostics, non chemical insect protection and engagement of communities.

The projects will provide a strong representation of our CRC and all have a ‘wow’ factor that should assist us in getting the right answer in December.

The interview will occur between 7 and 9 November and follow the same structure as last year, 30 minutes to present followed by 90 minutes of questions from the panel.

As expected the competition has been great and only 10 of the 26 applicants received have made it to the next stage. In the agriculture sector there were five bids submitted but only two of us made it through. Invasive Animals CRC is the other agriculture sector bid to have made it to interview.

Based on the information we have it is anticipated that up to five CRCs will be successful. Again I thank everyone who has contributed to the bid to date as every bit of this input has been necessary to get us to this point.

The CRC has had a change of Program Leader in the past month with Dr Paul De Barro stepping down from the Program 1 leadership role. Paul has taken on new responsibilities at CSIRO and it was no longer possible for him to commit the required time to the CRC. Paul was with the CRC from the start of the bidding process back in 2004 and he has made significant contributions to the CRC over its life. I thank Paul for his considerable contribution over this time and wish him all the best in the future. He will continue to be involved with the CRC through his new role and we look forward to his continuing contribution to our success.

To replace Paul, I welcome Dr Rieks van Klinken from CSIRO. Rieks has already become involved in the development of the bid and will be a valuable addition to our CRC. Over the next few months Rieks will have the opportunity to meet the project teams in Program 1.

Submission of PhDs continues with another two submitted in recent months. Kylie Ireland and Steve Coventry have both submitted their theses and you can read more about them in this edition of The Leaflet. I congratulate both of them on this achievement and from the news I am given we expect there will be several others between now and the end of the year.

I would also like to remind everyone that registrations for the 2012 Science Exchange will open soon and I encourage everyone to register early so we can advance the planning.

Till October, 

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

The sound of spring is in Professor John Lovett's mind. Read (and listen) here

Research reveals new threat to native forests

PhD candidate Kylie Ireland recently submitted her thesis for examination. Find out what Kylie focused her research on here.

CRCNPB farewells Program Leader 

The Preparedness and Prevention Research program has a new Program Leader. Find out who it is here.

The answer is blowing in the wind

As part of his PhD studies, Steven Coventry discovered that tracking weather patterns is an integral part of research into fungal infections. With his thesis now submitted for examination, learn more about Steven’s research here.

And the winner is....

Congratulations to Giles West, who has won a bottle of wine (from the Swan Valley - venue for the 2012 Science Exchange) for the caption he entered in the competition in the last edition of The Leaflet. To read the winning quote or to enter this edition’s competition, click here.

CRCNPB display on show to Minister

The CRCNPB was recently on show to the Minister at a cocktail party at Parliament House. Read about it here. 

other news...

One thing that Board member Jim Cullen misses from living in England is the pubs. Find out some of his interests.

The CRCNPB recently supported a workshop which focused on grain storage. Find out more in the education and training update.

The CRCNPB recently provided an exhibition booth at the annual Australian Grains Industry Conference. Learn more here.

The final Science Exchange in the life of this CRC will be held in the Swan Valley from 22-25 May 2012. Read more here.  

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

simon says...

Déjà vu, as the Chairman has identified is well and truly alive in the office. If the current level of joviality in the office is any measure then we are either very happy with the progress of the bid or the completion of a second bid in two years has finally got to us all.

The reality is that the 2011 rebid was submitted on Thursday 30 June. The core group believe we have compiled a bid that is much stronger than last year and we have been able to address the feedback received after the disappointment in 2010. The planning has been like clockwork and much of the stress that was generated in 2010 as we compiled information has not occurred. Based on the effort that has been put into completing this rebid, hopefully we can quote baseball legend Babe Ruth (I am sure he would approve of the small edit):

"It's hard to beat a person team who never gives up."

The process of submitting a rebid involves several components. The largest, and most complex to complete, component is the Impact Tool. This develops the business case for the CRC on which the selection criteria are addressed in a maximum of 10 pages. The criteria cover research, results and resources. To cover the criteria a 500 word executive summary is written. This summary must ‘sell’ the bid. The final component is the uploading of all budgetary information to the on-line system.

The rebid has achieved a higher level of commitment (about 10%) than we achieved in 2010. The cash commitment has reached $5.28 million per year with in-kind sitting at close to $10 million per year. We will seek a six year term from the CRC Program with $5.28 million sought from the Commonwealth for each year of operation.

A significant strengthening of the rebid was achieved with the commitment from DAFF to participate. This support, plus the recent endorsement of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity and the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy, highlight the importance of succeeding with this bid.

We have also worked with several of our participants to raise the profile of the CRC. I thank those representatives from various participants who have assisted us in achieving this task.

My analysis is that we have submitted a strong rebid and that, based purely on merit and support, we should have a very high probability of achieving success. Any other factors that may influence the final decision are outside of our control.

The moment the rebid was successfully submitted!

I do not have any PhD submissions to report on but I am aware of at least two who are in the final stages of completing submission. By the time the next Leaflet comes around we will have at least two more to congratulate.

In other CRCNPB business, the Board recently met in Camden, where we participated in a field trip to the new Elizabeth Macarthur Research Institute (see image below for your chance to win a prize).

The final Science Exchange for CRCNPB, and hopefully the first of the PBCRC, has been booked. It will take place in Perth from 21-25 May 2012. I encourage you all to lock this date in your diaries as I am sure it will be a great event that builds on the success of all previous Science Exchanges.

Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

The Board during a recent field trip to the Elizabeth Macarthur Research Institute. 

For your chance to be in the running to win a CRCNPB prize pack, send a creative caption for this image to Andrew Crichton by 31 July 2011.   

in this issue...

From the arm of the chair

Ever wondered what goes on inside the CEO's brain? Professor John Lovett takes a look at the effects of a second rebid. Read more

CRCNPB wins CRCA award

The CRCNPB has been recognised for the groundbreaking research it has been undertaking, winning an Award for Excellence in Innovation. Find out more here.  

Phosphine still a killer in cooled grain 

From 25-27 July, the CRCNPB will be supporting the grains industry through an exhibition booth at its annual conference in Melbourne. Learn more about one of the CRCNPB’s important grains projects – how phosphine is a killer in cooled grain – here.  

PhD completed by Paul Royce

It was reported in the last edition of The Leaflet that PhD candidate Paul Royce had submitted his thesis. Find out what Paul’s research focused on.  

Biosecure packaging brochure

Do you need to send a sample for diagnosis? Read the recently released packaging brochure to ensure samples are packaged correctly.

other news...

Escaping to the Kimberley is Board member Chris Richardson's favourite holiday destination. Find out what else he enjoys doing in his spare time.

In this edition’s education and training update, Program Leader Dr Kirsty Bayliss congratulates students who have had their research published in international journals. Read who has been published here

The CRCNPB recently provided sponsorship at conferences in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Find out more here.

Want to know more about Cooperative Research Centres in general?  Sign up to the CRC Association newsletter here.

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.

simon says...

Welcome to the first edition of The Leaflet for 2011, in what will be a challenging yet exciting year for the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity (CRCNPB).

In a busy start to the year we have already hosted the 2011 Science Exchange and commenced the initial stages for the rebid. After gaining strong support from the Participants at their recent meeting and the Board, the CRCNPB is hopeful this year’s rebid will be successful.

Over the coming months our focus for the rebid will be on addressing the areas for improvement identified by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR); developing the research programs - taking into consideration the research priorities of end-users; and securing letters of intent from potential participants.

Moving back to the Science Exchange, the Barossa Valley provided a wonderful back drop and gave attendees the opportunity to experience the viticulture industry, which is constantly facing biosecurity issues.

The high level of interaction between participants from various disciplines was interesting and occurred although the student workshops, Board meetings, poster and presentation sessions and the social outings. The success of the Science Exchange was demonstrated when a delegate stated “this is the best biosecurity conference I have ever attended!”

The Science Exchange Awards Dinner provided us with the opportunity to recognise our peers for the work they have undertaken over the past year. I would like to congratulate each of the individuals who were honoured for their achievements, as each of you have been rewarded for the dedication and commitment you have shown to biosecurity. More information on the Science Exchange and the awards are available in this edition of The Leaflet.

As I reflect on the Science Exchange, I would like to congratulate the staff of the CRC, and in particular Kate Scott, for running another fantastic event. The positive feedback I continue to receive about these events is a credit to Kate and the team for the time and effort put in to ensure they run smoothly.

Unfortunately this will be Kate’s last Science Exchange for the CRCNPB, as she leaves us to spend more time with her family in Brisbane. I would like to wish her well in her future endeavours and thank her for all the effort and energy she has put into the CRCNPB over the past three years.

I’d also like to congratulate Mark Castalanelli, who has submitted his thesis. Mark’s thesis focused on developing a simple and accurate diagnostics to rapidly distinguish Khapra beetle from its close relatives, which plays an important role in protecting Australia’s grains industry. More information on Mark’s project is available in this edition of The Leaflet.

Lastly, I look forward to working with you all in 2011 and appreciate your support in our attempts to ensure the CRC continues well beyond this year.


Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer


in this issue...

Professor John Lovett

from the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett is ready to take up the challenge of another rebid. READ MORE

Science Exchange 2011

CRCNPB family hits the Barossa for the Science Exchange 2011

Researchers recognised at Science Exchange Awards Dinner

DNA tool breaks this hitchhiker's disguise 

PhD student Mark Castalanelli has recently completed his thesis, which aimed to develop a simple and accurate diagnostics which would distinguish Khapra beetle from its close relatives. READ MORE about the project.

building Australia's immunity to viruses

Mark Whattam was rewarded for an excellent presentation at the Science Exchange by taking out the Board Award for Best Oral Presentation. READ MORE about the role the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) plays.

bringing biosecurity and food security to community developers in five continents

CRCNPB researchers Eka Martininglish and Gung Sri Jayantini have been working on the research project focusing on community management of biosecurity. READ MORE about their international experiences in Indonesia. 

other news...

While not undertaking his duties as Board Director, John Sandow enjoys travelling to Europe, fixing things and taking in the scenery around Canberra. READ MORE 

Mark Castalanelli has recently completed his thesis. Find out which other students are nearing completion and READ MORE about the students involvement at the Science Exchange in our Education and Training update

Sharyn Taylor - from Plant Health Australia - was recognised at the Science Exchange for her work as part of the Grains Knowledge Networks project team. READ MORE about the project here

The CRCNPB is sponsoring a conference in Darwin which brings together the Asian Association of Societies for Plant Pathology (AASPP) and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society (APPS). READ MORE about the conference 

simon says...

I write this column following the disappointing news last week that our bid to continue our very successful CRC was not supported by the CRC Program. The reasons for not being supported are not yet fully clear but a meeting will be held with the CRC Program on 23 December, at which time a debrief will be provided.

While the news was not what we wanted to hear, everyone involved in the CRC should be very proud of what has been achieved over the past 12 months. The other positive news is that we still have the next CRC round (14) to which we can submit a proposal. Submitting a proposal into the next round will be dependent on Participants continuing to support the CRC and the feedback received from the CRC Program. From the initial discussions it would appear that there is still very strong support from our Participants to submit a proposal for the extension of this CRC. A meeting will be held with Participants at the Science Exchange in February to discuss the submission of another bid.
As a significant amount of work was put into developing the unsuccessful bid I do not expect that we will need to start from ‘square one’ but rather polish and address those areas that made us less competitive than the successful bids.
I would like to thank everyone who assisted us throughout the different phases of the bid process. We could not have completed the task without the efforts of a large number of people.
Having mentioned the upcoming meeting at the Science Exchange I can update everyone that Kate Scott and her team are well advanced in organising what will be another standout event. Registrations are numbering over 140 and Kirsty Bayliss and James Ridsdill-Smith have compiled a program that showcases the achievements of our CRC. I look forward to catching up with many of you at this event.
Another of our PhD students has just presented his final seminar and will submit his thesis on 24 December. Alistair McTaggart has revised the taxonomy of three smut fungi and I am very impressed with his ability to complete his PhD in less than three years. As you will read in a separate article of this Leaflet, Alistair is off to the US in the new year to commence a post-doc position. On behalf of the CRC we wish him all the best.
January will also see the loss of one of our valuable staff members with Alana van Meurs, our Communications Officer moving to Perth. Alana has contributed greatly to the CRC and she managed the production of the Plant Biosecurity: collaborative research initiatives magazine which has been very well received. We wish Alana all the best in her new life on the west coast.
2010 has been a very successful year for the CRC despite the bad news in the past few weeks. Hopefully 2011 will see us prepare a revised bid that will get the nod of the CRC Committee.
On behalf of everyone at the CRC, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year and look forward to catching up with many of you at the Science Exchange in February.
 Simon McKirdy Signature
Dr Simon McKirdy
Chief Executive Officer

biosecurity in cartoon by Ang

 Ang's Christmas Cartoon

in this issue...

Professor John Lovett

from the arm of the chair

Professor John Lovett always looks on the bright side. READ MORE

speedy smut specialist

Alistair McTaggart's PhD project has completely revised the taxonomy of three large genera of smut fungi. READ MORE

training efficiencies gained through mobile technologies 

Dr Ruth Wallace and her project team recently won the Best Project Award from the Australian and New Zealand Mobile Learning Group for their work on mobile learning projects. READ MORE

statistical modelling provides greater confidence

PhD students Mark Stanaway and Nichole Hammond both recently submitted their theses READ MORE about their projects.

findings published in high level scientific journal

Further to our article in the last edition of The Leaflet Dr Dean Paini and his team's paper has been published in Nature Communications. READ MORE

other news...

Board Member, Professor John Irwin enjoys juggling multiple roles while still maintaining his interest in breeding lucerne. READ MORE 

The CRCNPB offer much more than just a stipend to our students. READ MORE in our Education and Training update

The CRCNPB sponsored the 9th Australasian Plant Virology Workshop. READ MORE

The CRC strong commitment to fruit fly research was demonstrated to an international audience at the International Symposiums on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance. READ MORE

A workshop on remote diagnostics is to be held in April 2011 in Darwin, Northern Territory. READ MORE

Capture the beauty of insects and you could win a $100 ABC Shop gift voucher! READ MORE

Sign up for the Cooperative Research Centres Association Newsletter. READ MORE