Future leaders in biosecurity program – industry internships

Future leaders in biosecurity program – industry internships

Central to PBCRC’s Education and Training Plan is the opportunity for students to undertake internships with industry or plant biosecurity agencies. Created to strengthen the relationship between industry and education, this program focuses on improving employment outcomes for graduates by providing them with an opportunity to explore their future career options and build personal and professional networks.

Post-Graduate Internships will be for a period of up to 20 days and may take the form of a research or problem-solving project, where the student and industry collaborate on a specific topic. Students will normally be in their 2nd or 3rd year of postgraduate research. PBCRC will work with a prospective industry partner to develop a suitable project and place a suitable student.

Hear from PhD students who have completed an internship:

Natalie Banks: Africa internship inspires

Project 61043: Assessing the biosecurity risks posed by informal trade networks

Natalie Banks is a PhD student who has just completed the first PBCRC industry internship. Natalie’s internship was hosted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Crawford Fund, and through this she was able to meet international agriculture program leaders that have inspired her future career options.

The key goal of the PBCRC Industry Internship Program is to offer PBCRC PhD students an opportunity to enhance their work skills and employment opportunities post-PhD by having direct exposure to industry and government workplaces relevant to their field of study.

What did you do?

I was given the opportunity to do an internship as part of the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership (AAPBP). This involved spending several days with people from the agencies involved in the project (ACIAR, Crawford Fund and PBCRC) learning how they approach, develop and operate international agricultural research for development projects from the highest level to the ‘coal face’. I had a totally inspiring and fascinating time talking with: Mike Nunn, Dennis Bittisnich and Emma Zalcman (ACIAR); Denis Blight and Marchien van Oostende (Crawford Fund); and Bill Magee and Naomi Thomson (PBCRC).

Why did you want to be involved?

In my view, this is applied science at its best that is adapting knowledge developed in one country context and applying it to another in a completely different set of circumstances and making it work for the benefit of humanity. It is well known that world biosecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. So, I think a partnership that aims to strengthen links by building capacity as well as connections between Australian and African biosecurity networks will make a valuable contribution to world biosecurity.

Why do you think it is important?

In a word: exposure. The internship program gives you the opportunity to connect and talk in depth with, as well as learn from, the people working in your field in an applied capacity. In my view, the Africa program is providing exactly the same opportunity: invaluable exposure. I am so grateful to the PBCRC for creating such an experience for me. It was wonderful! A special thanks goes to Naomi Thomson at PBCRC who made this possible.