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IA Watson Grain Research Centre Narrabri

Annual research showcase 2020

The theme for this year's Research Showcase is Plant Health

The 2020 Sydney Institute of Agriculture Research Showcase was held on Wednesday 7 October 2020 as an online webinar.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). The year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development. Australia benefits strongly from an attentive research sector who manage plant health through directed breeding, basic research, applied intervention and community education. IYPH will set the benchmark for further study, investment and practical outcomes, which helps ensure greater Plant Health can be achieved to support food production and agricultural sustainability for the greater community.

This year we highlight the advances in Plant Health Research at the University of Sydney and across Australia. The symposium included the following topic sessions, which stretch across the Plant Health and Plant Productivity spectrums so important to agricultural sustainability in Australia:

  • National and Global Perspective on Plant Health
  • Healthy Food Crops → Healthy Humans
  • On-farm Plant Health Intervention
  • Off-farm Plant and Environmental Health, Biodiversity and Resilience

In 2020, the symposium was held via an online webinar to overcome the restrictions and ensure the safety of the attendees created by the Covid-19 pandemic.


Reflections on plant health management and its national and global importance
Greg Fraser, Formerly Executive Director and CEO, Plant Health Australia

Session 1: National and Global Perspective on Plant Health

  • Dr Brett Summerell, Director Research and Chief Botanist, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • A/Prof Guy Roth, Director of Northern Agriculture, Plant Breeding Institute Narrabri, University of Sydney 
  • Tamaya Peressini, Graduate Research Officer at Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Session 2: Healthy Food Crops → Healthy Humans

  • Prof Robert Park, Director of Cereal Rust Research, University of Sydney
  • Dr Rosalind Deaker, Senior Lecturer in Rhizobiology and Biological Nitrogen Fixation, University of Sydney
  • Cara Jeffrey, PhD Student, University of Sydney
  • Gurpreet Singh, PhD Student, University of Sydney
  • Dr Philip Davies, Research Fellow, University of Sydney

Session 3: On-farm Plant Health Intervention

  • Prof Rebecca Ford, Dean (Research), Sciences Group, Griffith University, Qld
  • Dr Asad Shabbir, Postdoctoral Research Associate – Weed Ecology
  • Dr Francine Perrine-Walker, Research Fellow - Plant Pathology, University of Sydney

Session 4: Off-farm plant and environmental health, biodiversity and resilience

  • Dr Peri Tobias, Molecular Plant Pathologist and Bioinformatician, University of Sydney
  • Prof David Guest, Professor of Plant Pathology and SIA Development Agriculture Theme Leader, University of Sydney

'180-second spiel' Thesis Challenge
In three minutes, postgraduate students present a compelling talk on their thesis and its significance to the agriculture sector.

Download the program here!

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Plant Health

Annual Research Showcase

Wednesday 07 October 2020
8.30am - 5.30pm
Online Webinar
For more information please contact us