Better Border Biosecurity (B3) has a new director with experience both as a scientist and working within government and with innovators to ensure Aotearoa’s world-class science is implemented and benefits our communities.
Desi Ramoo is the new Director of B3, replacing David Teulon who is stepping down from the role after 10 years.
B3 links government, industry, iwi, communities and scientists to provide evidence-based solutions to reduce the entry and establishment of invasive and damaging pests, pathogens and weeds in Aotearoa New Zealand’s plant systems.
Over the past decade Desi has worked at the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry for the Environment, the government-funded Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, and with private companies in research innovation, commercialisation and community engagement roles.
Desi began his career in the United Kingdom as a builder and plumber, then gained undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in theoretical physics. He then worked as a physicist – applying his knowledge and skills to enable innovation in areas such as radically improving the way the internet can process research data.
Desi says he is excited to be part of a collaboration that is doing great things for New Zealand to help stop pests getting into the country and damaging our precious and productive plant systems.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to put my experience and understanding of the research system in New Zealand, working with government agencies and other important players in the biosecurity community, including the general public to good use. Biosecurity is an issue of high national importance and I’m looking forward to sharing how B3 is providing science solutions to the issues that are facing us as a country.”
B3 Collaboration Council Chair Dr James Buwalda says Desi brings considerable experience in stakeholder management and collaboration to the role.
“This will be particularly valuable as B3 enters a new funding environment with Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways programme focused on the future of New Zealand’s research, science and innovation system. His previous work with government agencies and developing technologies for practical use has given him valuable experience. B3 is valued highly by current investors the Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), and other stakeholders. The challenge now is to broaden this support and funding to get maximum value out of the B3 investment. Desi has the right mix of skills and experience to lead this.”
Dr Buwalda says under incumbent Director David Teulon B3 has developed – in collaboration with key organisations such as government ministries, industry and iwi – a robust research programme and solutions currently being used at the border, in laboratories and by agencies involved in safeguarding the health and future of our plants.