This update from the Better Border Biosecurity (B3) Collaboration Council Chair James Buwalda and Director David Teulon outlines the collaboration’s response to the current COVID-19 situation and includes the impact of lockdown on our ongoing programme of work and adjustments we are making.
It is important to note that each research organisation involved in the B3 collaboration has established protocols for working through the COVID-19 situation and our research teams are following these arrangements. These include a strong focus on staff well-being, in addition to the government-mandated lock-down protocols. B3 is taking its lead from these research organisations.
Following a recent virtual B3 Theme Leaders meeting, it is clear that some, but not all, of our research projects can continue in some form during the current situation. We will constantly review impact and provide advice and support to our teams as and where we can. Our researchers have all shifted to ‘work-from-home’ mode, and are using online collaboration tools as much as possible to keep work going.
Theme Leaders now meet virtually every second week (normally monthly) to review the impact of COVID-19 on the B3 research programme as well as discuss progress on projects. This information is passed onto the B3 Collaboration Council (key partner executives) to develop coordinated contingency plans for B3 within their own organisations.
We’re very aware of business and operational disruption for stakeholder organisations so will be very mindful of this as/when we seek input or feedback. In the meantime, we’ll update you regularly on impacts to our programme that may affect your organisation’s engagement with the B3 collaboration.
We will continue with our annual project reinvestment for the six new projects scheduled to start in July 2020. We are also going ahead with virtual Theme meetings on 11-13 May, 2020 (same dates as the postponed B3 Conference). The postponed B3 Conference will now almost certainly be held in May 2021.
Finally, what we don’t need right now is a new plant or animal biosecurity incursion so our collective work in this area is more essential than ever before. We look forward to keeping you updated. Please do not hesitate to contact the Director with any additional questions or comments. David.Teulon@plantandfood.co.nz