2021-22 Australian Science Policy Fellow: Jason
Jason is a plant molecular biotechnologist who has a long standing interest in food security and crop disease management. His research career began in the field of legume symbiosis, where his research focussed on understanding and identifying ways to improve crop productivity, and subsequently broadened his interest in sustainable disease management. He is an avid science communicator and has been actively contributing to teaching activities within the department. Jason is keen to use the skills he gained to inform policymaking and to contribute to a stronger national biosecurity framework and a more progressive Australia.
What were you researching before you started as a Science Policy Fellow?
I was developing biomarkers to predict disease status in crops, and to use this information to breed pest-resistant crop varieties.
How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?
I have been fortunate to be able to use my research and technical know-how almost immediately in my role at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. My background in plant biology has helped me in assessing new phytosanitary requirements implemented by foreign nations. I was also given a piece of a project on sustainable agriculture issues/credentials to work on, which is something I have a personal interest in.
How has the program changed your career aspirations?
It is still relatively early in the program, but I am enjoying my time as a Science Policy Fellow. I look forward to engaging with other parts of the department and government more broadly to have a more holistic whole-of-government view and to perform my duties more effectively.
What is your favourite part about working in a policy role in the Australian Public Service?
As policies are made following high level considerations and negotiations, I am able to understand and appreciate other competing factors that I would otherwise be unaware of from outside government. It definitely opens up new perspectives and gives me the opportunity to engage with other program/policy areas.