Global research ties vital for growth of grains industry

Author: | Date: 26 Sep 2013

Steve Thomas

Delivering the best possible benefits to growers through quick access to technology and the ability to influence future research priorities, here and overseas, is the primary objective of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) new Executive Manager Commercial, Steve Thomas.

Dr Thomas says a changing research, development and extension environment in Australia has been the catalyst for 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 GRDC will need to keep looking for new ways to deliver the outcomes that Australian grain growers need to remain viable,” said Dr Thomas.

“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.

“Even more importantly, the Australian grain industry needs to have a say in the research priorities set by private companies and by the global research community.

“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,” said Dr Thomas.

“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 GRDC and with our partners to generate ground-breaking improvements for the future,” said Dr Thomas.

Dr Thomas brings a wealth of experience to his new position, including two years as Executive Manager of GRDC’s Research Program portfolio where he helped develop and implement a long-term strategy for maximising the impact of research investment.

Managing Director John Harvey said: “Steve’s experience with Research Programs is essential in leading a GRDC-wide approach to generating and accessing innovative breakthroughs for the Australian grain grower.

“He will lead a small team focused on building new partnerships and strategically planning future investments that deliver the results we need,” said Mr Harvey.

Prior to joining GRDC, Dr Thomas held numerous roles across the agricultural research sector, including Director level roles at New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and research positions with the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens and the Carlsberg Research Laboratories in Copenhagen.


Caption: GRDC new Executive Manager Commercial, Steve Thomas.

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