Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Science Communication on the South Island

Question: What do chimpanzees, caves and foot and mouth disease have in common? Answer: Science communication.

Dr Manyweathers at the conferenceThe 15th Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) conference was held in Dunedin, New Zealand in April bringing together diverse fields of interest including science journalists dealing with scientific uncertainty and the role of citizen science in building robust research within communities.

Dr Jennifer Manyweathers attended this conference and presented about a Graham Centre project, looking at foot and mouth disease preparedness in Australian livestock industries by improving partnerships with producers and industry stakeholders. Her presentation highlighted the importance of two-way communication and conversations around biosecurity and surveillance.

Dr Manyweathers spoke about a component of the project that is based on Agricultural Innovations Systems and is working with livestock producers and other stakeholders through the formation of pilot groups.

Pilot groups are about to commence with pork producers in Tasmania, dairy producers in Victoria, sheep producers in Western Australia and beef cattle producers in Queensland.

The research is part of the FMD Ready project, which aims to improve surveillance, preparedness and return to trade from emergency animal disease incursions using foot-and-mouth disease as a model.

The project is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme, and by producer levies from Australian FMD-susceptible livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) industries and Charles Sturt University (CSU), leveraging significant in-kind support from the research partners.

The research partners for this project are the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), CSU through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, supported by Animal Health Australia.

Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover, Associate Professor Rob Woodgate, Dr Manyweathers and Ms Lynne Hayes are the CSU team working on this project.

 

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