Sci­en­tists talk pests

Con­fer­ence tack­les the big is­sues

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

FOL­LOW­ING two and a half years of plan­ning, the Sci­ence Pro­tect­ing Plant Health (SPPH) con­fer­ence came to fruition last month.

The event, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Plant Biose­cu­rity CRC and the Aus­tralasian Plant Pathol­ogy So­ci­ety (APPS) was, in the words of ple­nary speaker Pro­fes­sor Bar­bara Howlett: “A fan­tas­tic event, with an amaz­ing va­ri­ety of speak­ers and del­e­gates, made richer by the mar­ry­ing of plant biose­cu­rity with plant pathol­ogy. From the speaker’s podium it was won­der­ful to look out across the au­di­to­rium and see so many young peo­ple, which I be­lieve bodes ex­tremely well for the fu­ture of plant health sci­ence”.

Rep­re­sent­ing the CRC at the open­ing cer­e­mony, pro­fes­sor John Lovett re­flected on the in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult task con­fronting those on the front­line of plant biose­cu­rity, com­pounded by the rapid move­ment of peo­ple and prod­ucts across the globe, with the va­garies of a chang­ing cli­mate adding fur­ther com­plex­ity.

“The call to arms for the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity to work to­gether to counter these threats is as great as ever,” he said.

The event was the first time the APPS con­fer­ence was pre­sented by a part­ner­ship, with the Plant Biose­cu­rity CRC bring­ing a di­ver­sity of dis­ci­plines, peo­ple and pur­pose to the oc­ca­sion.

Ap­prox­i­mately 70 staff mem­bers, stu­dents and part­ners in PBCRC at­tended the event, 31 of whom ei­ther pre­sented, chaired ses­sions or fa­cil­i­tated work­shops.

The CRC booth pro­vided a pop­u­lar meet­ing place for

par­tic­i­pants, the me­dia and friends to gather.

The CRC fea­tured strongly in the stu­dent awards, tak­ing out sec­ond and third place in the pre­sen­ta­tion cat­e­gory, (Francesco Mar­toni and Shakira John­son re­spec­tively) while Emily Lan­caster took out sec­ond prize in the poster ses­sions.

From a CRC per­spec­tive the col­lab­o­ra­tion with APPS pro­vided greater ex­po­sure of its sci­ence and in par­tic­u­lar pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for its younger sci­en­tists and stu­dents to en­gage di­rectly with the plant pathol­ogy com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing end-users in govern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor.

The Plant Biose­cu­rity CRC also used the con­fer­ence to an­nounce the up­com­ing Na­tional Sci­ence Ex­change: Biose­cu­rity built on sci­ence, for agri­cul­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment, to be held in Mel­bourne from May 29–31 next year.

More de­tails about SX18 will be avail­able in the com­ing months.

The CRC ex­ec­u­tive and or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee thanked all staff, stu­dents, part­ners and spon­sors for their sup­port and in­volve­ment in mak­ing the event hap­pen.

Re­search co-or­di­na­tor, and un­of­fi­cial ‘artist in res­i­dence’, Juanita Wat­ters kept the Twit­ter­sphere amused with her de­pic­tion of talks in car­toon form!

PHOTO: FAITH THIANG

FO­RUM: From left to right Lea Dif­fey (A/As­sis­tant Direc­tor Gen­eral QLD DSITI), Prof John Lovett (PBCRC), Jenny Cobon (APPS) Tony Steeper (PBCRC).

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