Dr Steve Thomas
The GRDC’s new executive manager commercial, Dr Steve Thomas, says international research alliances that provide access to global technology will become an increasingly important part of the research, development and extension that is delivered to Australian growers.
Dr Thomas says a changing RD&E environment in Australia has been the catalyst for the GRDC’s increased focus on partnerships with commercial enterprises and overseas research entities.
“As the ongoing decline in public sector funding and staff takes effect, there is no doubt that the GRDC will need to keep looking for new ways to deliver the outcomes that Australian grain growers need to remain viable,” Dr Thomas says.
“It’s essential that we get early access to the key technologies that have been, and will be, developed across the world and use those breakthroughs to increase the competitiveness of Australian grain growers in a global market.”
Dr Thomas says the relationships that the GRDC has been building also create an opportunity for the Australian grains industry to have a say in the research priorities set by private companies in Australia and overseas.
“The more influence we have in the design of new research projects, the more relevant and readily applicable the outcomes will be to our environment and our cropping systems,” he says.
“We’ve developed the right framework for these partnerships to introduce safeguards for growers and ensure the maximum level of return to our domestic industry. My job now is to build on this platform, working within the GRDC and with our partners to generate groundbreaking improvements for the future.”
Dr Thomas was previously executive manager of the GRDC’s research program portfolio, and in that role helped develop and implement a long-term strategy for maximising the impact of research investment.
GRDC managing director John Harvey says Dr Thomas will lead a small team focused on building new partnerships and strategically planning future investments that deliver the results the industry needs.
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