MacLean well qualified for GRDC panel role

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 17 Mar 2016

Woman (Brondwen MacLean) standing infront of GRDC banner

Brondwen MacLean, GRDC executive manager for research programs, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the GRDC northern panel.

If grains industry affinity, knowledge and experience are key requirements to serve on the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s northern panel, Brondwen MacLean is extremely well qualified.

Ms MacLean has spent the past 17 years working with the GRDC across a variety of roles and is currently serving as executive manager for research programs.

As part of this role she has primary accountability for managing all aspects of the GRDC’s nationally coordinated research and development (R&D) investment portfolio and aims to ensure that these investments generate the best possible return for Australian grain growers.

Being at the grains R&D coalface is both exciting and challenging and she is constantly assessing what research possibilities are over the horizon, how they fit with existing GRDC investment frameworks and what productivity and profitability benefits they can deliver to growers.

At the same time, Ms MacLean appreciates the issues growers face in their paddocks and businesses. She is committed to finding effective and practical solutions `from the ground-up’.

“Whilst I have a good deal of experience, including a previous term on the western panel, I’m looking forward to understanding the specific issues growers face in the northern region,” Ms MacLean said.

“It’s imperative that our regional research priorities and requirements fit with the wider GRDC strategy – that’s when R&D becomes an incredibly powerful tool to deliver profitable and long term benefits to growers’ businesses.”

While Ms MacLean recognises the importance of on-going research into key northern production issues such as water use efficiency and increasing herbicide resistance, she is also enthusiastic about the industry’s future opportunities.

“I think as an industry we should be looking at technologies such as agricultural engineering, automation and robotics. We aren’t yet exploiting opportunities that have arisen as a consequence of these new technologies, such as what’s coming out of big data, analytics, and statistics and looking at what they mean for growers,” she said.

“To do this, it’s important that we look at what the rest of the world has on its shelf to ensure we look outside at ways to boost profitability as well as internally at our local issues.”

Indeed, Ms MacLean sees the GRDC’s capacity to do exactly that as one of the key strengths of the organisation.

“The GRDC is the envy of the world in that it’s a national organisation and it’s very important we don’t lose the considerable benefits that come with that even as we drill deeper into growers’ needs on a localised basis.

“By maintaining a national focus we can avoid duplication of resources and effort and ensure that whilst knowing what the national priorities and strategies are, we are fitting into this framework at a local level and driving research results into the paddock whether you are in Central Queensland, the Mallee or the northern acid sand plains of WA,” she said.

“We mustn’t fragment the industry, but instead work to ensure northern growers can leverage off work undertaken elsewhere in Australia or the world.”

A video of Ms MacLean discussing her role on the GRDC northern regional panel is available on the GRDC YouTube channel or by clicking on

Contact Details

For Interviews

Brondwen MacLean
GRDC executive manager for research programs
02 6166 4500


Sarah Jeffrey, Cox Inall Communications
0418 152 859

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Region North