Northern Panel baton change

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Image at GRDC 25th anniversary celebration

Former Northern Panel chair James Clark (right) at the GRDC’s 25th anniversary celebrations with NSW DPI deputy director-general Michael Bullen and GRDC executive manager for research programs Brondwen Maclean.

PHOTO: Brad Collis

The long-serving chair of the GRDC’s Northern Panel, James Clark, retired from the post at the end of August, and has been succeeded by NSW grower and agricultural consultant John Minogue.

Mr Clark was regarded as a formidable figurehead in the drive to boost grains research capability and capacity through relevant, rigorous and well-validated research.

Mr Clark joined the panel in 2005 and was chair from 2008. He played a central role in helping shape the GRDC’s regional investment framework, with grower profitability front and centre. He oversaw the implementation of the Northern Region Strategy, which has included co-investment by the region’s major R&D organisations. This encompasses a regional network of R&D nodes at Emerald, the Darling Downs and Goondiwindi in Queensland, and Narrabri, Tamworth, Trangie, Condobolin, Wagga Wagga and Yanco in New South Wales by the relevant state departments of agriculture.

Each node encompasses research agronomists, technical staff and the necessary equipment to conduct detailed trials, which increases the scope and resourcing for northern-focused R&D projects.

“The nodes allow the rapid development of large multi-year, multi-environment datasets, which means solutions that address priority issues can be delivered more quickly,” Mr Clark says.

“This responsiveness and the specific relevance of the datasets will maximise the value of growers’ levy investments, particularly in the three to eight-year investment areas of agronomy, weeds, nutrition, soils, pathology, farming systems and pests.”

Mr Clark says another important element of the strategy has been the investment in 19 mid-career scientist positions in collaboration with GRDC research partners across the northern region. This creates a succession plan for the region’s key researchers to ensure regional research requirements are met into the future.

More information:

John Minogue, GRDC Northern Panel chair,


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