14 July, 2017
SRA has appointed a new senior research scientist to boost its capacity in entomology, with the appointment of Dr Kevin Powell. Dr Powell is based at Meringa near Cairns and will be leading and working on important projects that relate to insects (entomology) for sugarcane growers and millers, in the role of Leader, Entomology.
This includes work on insect pests that are already impacting the Australian sugarcane industry, as well work that will help protect Australia against potential insect pests that could pose a biosecurity risk in the future.
SRA Key Focus Area Leader for Pest, Disease, and Weed Management, Dr Andrew Ward, said that Dr Powell came to the role with extensive experience as a principal research scientist, project leader, and manager, working most recently for the Victorian Government in invertebrate sciences.
“Dr Powell has strong theoretical and practical skills and is internationally recognised for his ability to innovate novel and practical approaches to plant biosecurity pest and insects that may be vectors that spread diseases and viruses,” Dr Ward said.
“The Far North sugarcane industry is a possible front line for future pest incursions, so it is positive news for our industry to have a scientist of Dr Powell’s experience based at Meringa.
“He will be working with our investors and our researchers across SRA to deliver better outcomes for the industry, and in particular Dr Karel Lindsay, our Mackay-based entomologist working on soldier fly and cane grub research.”
Dr Powell said that he looked forward to participating in SRA’s existing research projects and collaborations with a range of other stakeholders.
“Managing insect pests is a vital foundation of crop protection in any industry, and I hope that my insights from other industries will benefit Australian cane growers and millers,” he said.