B3 Director David Teulon says a total of $1.6 million dollars in research funding was allocated to 10 new plant biosecurity-related science projects this year.  He says a key aspect of B3’s research is providing solutions and knowledge to support key biosecurity organisations such as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

“Co-innovation is at the heart of our research investment and researchers have worked hard with our stakeholders and end-users, such as MPI, DOC and industry, to co-develop projects that meet their needs.”

Newly-funded projects include those with a focus on partnering with Māori, new threats to productive and natural systems, new technology platforms, and building on successful previous research projects, he says.

“It’s pleasing to see a number of early career scientists as project leaders and the development of new collaborations between B3 partners.”

Dr Teulon says successful projects were reviewed by the B3 Science Advisory Group (SAG) in a two-step process starting in October 2020. This year the newly-formed Plant Biosecurity Council (GIA) also provided input.  A prominent Māori biosecurity researcher also reviewed potential projects. To ensure research synergies and best use of funds the projects were also discussed with B3’s two Australian MOU partners, the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) and the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA), as well as New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

Newly funded projects (for more details email [email protected])

Pre-emptive bio/biosafety risk assessment for high-risk biosecurity threats in New Zealand Led by Gonzalo Avila (Plant & Food Research) with AgResearch

Assessing the risk of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death to New Zealand and the South Pacific Led by Virginia Marroni (PFR) with AGR, Scion and MWLR

Māori and Pacifica indigenous collaboration to identify pre-border biosecurity threats to taonga Led by Julia Soewarto (Scion) with PFR

Automatic detection of contaminants on shipping container exteriors Led by Munir Shah (AGR) and Taylor Welsh (PFR)

Unappreciated border biosecurity risks related to herbicide-resistant biotypes Led by Chris Buddenhagen (AGR)

The potential of mass spectral fingerprinting for solving tricky biosecurity issues Led by Alastair Ross (AGR) with PFR

Integrated or not?  Is this badnovirus viable and what is the risk? Led by Rebekah Frampton (PFR)

Remote sensing to support surveillance, response, and eradication

Led by Federico Tomasetto (AGR)

Improving UAV effectiveness for spot applications of Btk during an incursion

Led by Justin Nairn (Scion)

Weaving together the complex web of biosecurity social networks

Led by Phil Hulme (Bio-Protection Research Centre)