Sydney University Biosecurity Group
27th November 2008, Coogee Beach, Sydney
Professor Michael Ward led a Collaborative Forum, sponsored by the University of Sydney Biosecurity Programme (USBP), held on 27 November at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Coogee Beach.
A total of 23 participants attended this Forum, with expertise in veterinary public health, international politics, microbiology, psychology, law, political science, ethics, international science, and wildlife health.
The aims of this Forum were:
- To develop a cross-disciplinary network of faculty to address current issues in biosecurity research; and
- To foster team-building that might lead to cross-disciplinary proposals for externally-funded research in biosecurity.
The University of Sydney Biosecurity Program was initiated during 2006 - 2007 with a series of cross-disciplinary meetings of interested academics. It is formally funded for the period 2008 - 2010.
The concept of biosecurity includes infectious disease threats that might have potentially severe political, economic and strategic impacts. One of the stated USBP objectives is to promote biosecurity-relevant research.
Biosecurity research demands collaboration between researchers from a wide range of disciplines. Thus, the challenge is to create teams of researchers from often widely disparate disciplines. Without a cross-disciplinary approach, it is unlikely that solutions to current biosecurity issues can be found. A theme that emerged during discussions was compliance (by individuals, communities, and states in areas of disease response and control policies, laboratory safety and security protocols, and ethical norms) and its impact on biosecurity.