NSW DPI scientists vie for Eureka Prizes

Dr Glen Saunders and Trudy Sharp
Dr Glen Saunders and Trudy Sharp

Peter Kirkland
Dr Peter Kirkland

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director-General, Richard Sheldrake, today announced that three NSW DPI scientists are finalists in the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

"Peter Kirkland is a finalist in the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science with Glen Saunders and Trudy Sharp in the running to win the Voiceless Eureka Prize for Scientific Research that Contributes to Animal Protection," Dr Sheldrake said.

"We are proud that NSW DPI staff have been recognized for their commitment to science.

"Dr Kirkland’s nomination acknowledges his contribution to veterinary virology and the diagnosis, control and eradication of serious animal diseases, including the recent equine influenza outbreak in NSW and Queensland.

"His leadership has delivered scientific solutions to local livestock industries and he continues to play a major role in maintaining Australia’s lucrative international trade in cattle, sheep and goats."

Dr Kirkland is the current president of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

According to Dr Sheldrake, the competition also recognises the ground-breaking contribution Dr Saunders and Ms Sharp have made in developing the first best practice guidelines and decision-making tools to improve the humaneness of pest animal control at a national level.

"They have developed and published 43 standard operating procedures (SOPs) and seven codes of practice for the humane control of 10 pest animal species, including rabbits, foxes, wild dogs and feral pigs, which have been endorsed by RSPCA Australia and the NSW Pest Animal Council," he said.

"National adoption of their recommendations required an extremely thorough process of consultation, amendment and agreement between government and non-government agencies, animal welfare groups and technical specialists.

"The SOPs also reflect a common-sense approach, they have been written for everyone engaged in pest animal control and can be applied across a diverse range of situations."

Dr Kirkland works at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Camden. Dr Saunders and Ms Sharp are based at the Orange Agricultural Institute.

The 2008 Eureka Prizes will be presented at an award dinner in Sydney on August 19.