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The Monitor - Issue 5 - Welcome from the Program Manager, Mark Hunt

Mark Hunt, Program Manager of Program One

Welcome to The Monitor—our first edition of the Program One newsletter for 2009 and the first edition since I assumed the role of Program Manager from Mike Battaglia early last year.

In this issue I will outline the role we see The Monitor fulfilling and some of the changes to the program since I came into the role. Thank you everyone for helping to make my transition into the role as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Over the past twelve months, the Program Coordinating Committee (PCC) has given quite a lot of thought as to how we can best use The Monitor as a communication tool.  In the midst of other communication avenues such as the  Annual Science Meeting, biannual PCC meetings, quarterly Project Steering Committee (PSC) meetings and monthly web updates, The Monitor needs to stake out some clear territory of its own and is therefore now aimed at communicating with the broader CRC community beyond the confines of Program One. As we are now at the mid-point of the CRC, where technology transfer, adoption and engagement are at the forefront, this is an extremely important role to fill.

Our intent is to publish The Monitor quarterly and to time the publication to immediately follow the PSC meetings. We will welcome feedback about whether these aims are being achieved and about whether this is the most useful way to proceed.

Since the last Monitor was published, much has happened within Program One.  The PCC and the PSCs have been revamped and reconstituted.  Justine Edwards, as the PCC chair, has taken on a very proactive role, providing important industry leadership and impetus. All PSCs are now chaired by an industry partner representative who is working with the project leader in a more formal and structured manner.  I have been very grateful for the enthusiasm with which the new PSC chairs have embraced this approach, and I believe the most important benefits will be realised as we roll out the adoption phases of the projects.

A successful forest health workshop was held at the Burnley campus of the University of Melbourne in the middle of last year. Caroline Mohammed, Neil Sims and Ian Smith coordinated the various aspects of the meeting which was held in conjunction with the mid-year PCC meeting. It was clear from both meetings that there is very good cross-project collaboration occurring as well as a high level of involvement from both research and non-research partners. Some of the work presented at the workshop featured in the Program One presentations at the CRC’s Annual Science Meeting in the first week of November last year.

Some changes in project leadership have occurred with Tony O’Grady taking over Project 1.3 as Mike Battaglia grapples with broader CSIRO responsibilities. Daniel Mendham took over Project 1.2.1 from Don White, who has recently taken on leadership for Project 4.1.  The future interactions between Tony and Daniel’s projects in Program One and Don’s project in Program Four will be critical to realising the benefits from the broader CRC research interests in forests and water.

Alieta Eyles rejoined the CRC as a postdoctoral fellow in Project 1.2.2 with Caroline Mohammed. Alieta completed her PhD and a previous postdoctoral position with the CRC for Sustainable Production Forestry, and it is great to have Alieta back after a short absence in the Northern Hemisphere.

We also have some new postgraduate students in the program and I welcome them and congratulate their supervisors on attracting such high-quality people at a time when finding postgraduate candidates is very difficult.

It was clear from the third-year Annual Science Meeting and the mid-term CRC review, that this is an important time in the CRC lifecycle to consider the progress of our research and the ways in which our research outcomes will influence the decision-making of our stakeholders in the future—whether they be researchers, or industrial plantation growers or policy makers.  It is also an opportune time to reflect on whether the work we are doing is truly taking advantage of the CRC concept—that is, we should be creating something that we couldn’t do in isolation and something that is larger than the sum of the subprojects around which our milestones and experiments are focused.  In the short time I have been program manager, it is clear that we are on track to achieve all of these things.  The challenge from here is to stay on track and to see just how far we can go. 

I am looking forward to working with everyone over the coming year and I welcome any feedback about Program One or The Monitor from the CRC for Forestry community.

Mark Hunt, Program Manager

Tel: 07 54565760