Meeting 18 was attended by representatives from six plant RDCs, Plant Health Australia (PHA) and the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment (DAWE).  Susan Maas, CRDC, chaired the meeting which included a member update on biosecurity activities and investments, relevant to the PBRI.

Meeting 18 focused on the program and planning for the DAWE sponsored PBRI Symposium, Adelaide Wine Centre 11 &12 May 2022. The early bird registration has been extended to 25 March with day registration and virtual options available.  The PBRI members are pleased to confirm Ben Harris, Vineyard Manager from Treasury Wine Estates, will give a Keynote presentation on the first day of the Symposium and Dr Beth Woods, ACIAR Commissioner and former Director General Queensland Department of Agriculture and Food, will give a dinner address on ‘partnerships for greater RD&E impact’. A trans-Tasman session has been included in the program, highlighting research collaboration occurring across the Tasman.

The Ritman Scholarship application deadline to support PhD students to attend the Symposium has been extended to 21 March. The Symposium technical committee will assess the applications and announce the successful recipients in early April.

As part of PBRI strategy implementation, 19 biosecurity projects have been contracted with a total value of approximately $52 million (cash and in-kind). Ten new cross-sectoral concepts were described with co-investment interest and partnerships identified. These concepts align to PBRI’s six key focus areas, and include remote sensing surveillance for Xylella, pest modelling for management strategies, novel pest and disease control methods, fall armyworm management strategies, a BMSB and FAW EU concept, and a pathogen genomics data sharing platform.

Most concepts have been initiated as a direct result of RD&E presented at the PBRI fora. The next RD&E forum will be focused on Australian and NZ led activities in the Pacific. Future forum topics include, the economic impact of key pests, climate change and biosecurity and sustainable pest management.

The Hort Innovation and DAWE funded project ‘Phytosanitary risk management tool kit – Systems science for safe trade’ was outlined by project leads, Jane Muller and Rieks van Klinken of CSIRO.  A discussion on its use across plant industry sectors highlighted other areas for application for systems approaches to biosecurity risk.

A half day Partner Workshop is being planned in Adelaide to coincide with the PBRI Symposium. This workshop will focus on mutual plant biosecurity challenges and areas for collaboration with PBRI partner organisations and draw on the benefit of a number of international partners being present.

An update was provided on PBRI’s contribution to the Agriculture Innovation Australia investment planning process, with a prospectus developed by AIA for consideration by DAWE.  PBRI members also participated in a prioritisation process held on 23 February to identify Hub activities for Biosecurity, for delivery under the Innovation Agenda ($2.5 million per Hub).

The next PBRI Committee Meeting will be held on 26 August 2022, chaired by Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith.