Liz Barbour, CEO, CRC HBP, welcomed the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program delegation to Western Australia in October and acknowledged the importance of communication.
“Resources devoted to research in the honey bee and pollination industry can be scarce, so it’s imperative that the work of the CRC HBP and AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program is complementary and we’re not overlapping. This visit was a great opportunity for us to share research progress and align on important research outcomes.”
One of the highlights of the meeting was the opportunity for 16 PhD students to present to AgriFutures Australia Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel about their research projects, receive live feedback and be assured that some of the outcomes they were striving towards were important for the industry and would have a tangible impact.
Danny Le Feuvre, deputy chair, AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program Advisory Panel said the delegation was impressed and enthusiastic about the progress the PhD students had been making in their research projects.
“We learnt a great deal from the researcher presentations. It was incredibly uplifting to see how these research projects have evolved over time. These students are doing important work, and many of them did not grasp the gravity of their findings so it was quite rewarding to reassure them that they were making crucial discoveries would have real-world implications for commercial beekeepers and pollinators.
“It was also an opportunity to connect with some researchers who previously submitted applications that did not progress into commissioned projects. The AgriFutures Australia Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel is always grateful to receive submissions for projects and being able to meet these talented people and get a greater understanding of their capabilities and interests is beneficial as we scope out future projects.”
However, it was the work of Jessica Moran, who is looking into volatiles and bee health that really sparked the interest of the AgriFutures team. According to Danny, Jessica’s research into American Foulbrood (AFB) could be particularly beneficial to the industry. Jessica was part of a team of three PhD students with her colleagues Shannon Holt and Clarisa Castanos complementing the work with research into resilience in bees and the prediction of colony collapse.
“If the outcomes of this research into AFB can be commercialised, there is real potential that the entire honey bee and pollination industry will be transformed on a global scale.”
Outside of the classroom, the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program delegates took the opportunity to travel around Perth and meet with beekeepers and pollination service providers and provide updates on AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program’s priorities and listen to some of the unique challenges and complexities of the Western Australian industry.
There was also a tour of the state-of-the-art research facilities that the University of Western Australia has to offer. A walk around the research labs and a briefing on some of the work being undertaken around nanotechnology and complex analytical tools provided additional context to the research being done in Western Australia.
Continuing to foster a close connection between the CRC HBP and AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program is a top priority for both organisations moving forward.
According to Liz, working together will bring strong outcomes for entire industry.
“We see ourselves as an accelerator for research into honey bee products and pollination. We want to continue to support the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program, which remains an important partner for our organisation.”
Danny agreed with the sentiment, acknowledging that the partnership between AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Program and the CRC HBP was a strategic priority moving forward.
“The CRC HBP do an incredible job and are building a strong, full pipeline of research. We’re seeing strong momentum in the level of talent and capability that is being directed towards bees. It’s encouraging to see the level of engagement amongst researchers and we’re looking forward to continuing this fruitful relationship.”
Lauren Sharkey, AgriFutures Australia, Manager Communications & Capacity Building
Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org | 02 6923 6916 | 0409 966 182