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New Biosecurity and Bioprotection Major

Media Release
11 December 2007

New Biosecurity and Bioprotection Major for Science Degree


Lincoln University has introduced a new science major for 2008 which will prepare graduates to move directly into careers in Bioprotection and Biosecurity, areas identified by the Government as a priority for research.

Lincoln University’s Vice-Chancellor, Roger Field, says the new major is a direct response to demand for a science capacity and capability that protects New Zealand’s key economic and environmental assets.

“There is a very high awareness around the need to maintain and develop this capability and the need for graduates to underpin research on pests, diseases and weeds,” Professor Field says. “The Government’s draft Biosecurity Strategy, in particular, makes very clear the value of producing graduates with skills and knowledge in these specialisations.

“Our initiative builds on Lincoln University’s unique research profile and teaching capability in plant pathology, entomology, plant protection, integrated pest and weed management, biological control, weed ecology and general ecology.”

Bioprotection encompasses a wide range of strategies that use biological interactions or attributes for effective control of weeds, pests and diseases. Biosecurity is concerned with preventing new organisms from crossing borders and controlling, eradicating or containing those that are already established. The core papers for the new major include plant protection and plant biosecurity, but students with interests in microbiology and human and animal health, bio-safety, wildlife management and protection of biodiversity, will be able to include relevant courses in their science degree.

The new major will include an entirely new Fungal Ecology paper, and significant modification of two pest management papers to include enhanced pest and biosecurity risk assessment procedures.

Graduates with a Bachelor of Science, Bioprotection and Biosecurity are expected to move into careers such as entomology, plant pathology, insect and fungal ecology, biological control of pests and weeds, pest and weed management, and risk analysis and assessment. This could include research positions in a University or Crown Research Institute, a career in regional or local government, and operational biosecurity work in agencies such as MAF, state-owned enterprises and industry sector groups.

The development of a new major also responds to interest from secondary school students participating in Lincoln University’s Science Outreach programme. Established in 2006, Science Outreach offers workshops for teachers and practical activities for students with the aim of enhancing the teaching of NCEA Levels 1, 2 or 3 agriculture, biology, chemistry, horticulture and science.

The Biosecurity and Bioprotection major is expected to capitalise greatly on the presence of the Bioprotection Centre, a national Centre of Research Excellence, on the Lincoln University campus. The Bioprotection Centre has 19 principal investigating scientists, 14 post-doctoral fellows, 48 postgraduate students, and research funding of more than $20million through until 2014.

Further information and enrollment into a Bachelor of Science programme is available through Student Services at Lincoln University, Phone 0800 10 60 10.

About the Bioprotection and Ecology Division
The Bioprotection and Ecology Division is responsible for teaching and research into a large number of areas including: Agro-ecology; Biocontrol; Biodiversity; Biosecurity; Conservation, Wildlife and Invasion Biology; Entomology; Fungal Genetics; Molecular Systematics; Plant Pathology; and Urban, Forest and Behavioural Ecology. The division has a large research infrastructure with a range of advanced facilities and equipment. Many of its staff are also members of the National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies, a campus-based Centre of Research Excellence. www.lincoln.ac.nz


ENDS

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