Fulbright Scholarship to boost biosecurity

Friday 4 Jun 2021

An insect invasion expert from USC Australia will soon travel to the United States on a prestigious Fulbright Future Scholarship to help boost biosecurity between the two countries. Dr Helen Nahrung, from USC’s Forest Research Institute, is the first researcher to receive the honour while employed at USC, one of Australia’s fastest-growing regional universities.

The scholarship will allow Dr Nahrung to travel to the US in May 2022 to examine the accidental importation of insects between Australia and the US, part of an “unwanted reciprocal exchange” of invasive species that each year costs Australia AU$14 billion and the US$210 billion.

Dr Nahrung hopes findings from her visit to the United States could be used to influence trade or travel policy. “We plan to use our improved bilateral understanding of insect movement between our respective countries to identify strategies to reduce the likelihood of future damaging invasions,” she said.

Dr Nahrung will be based for three months in West Virginia where she will work alongside a leading US invasion biologist looking at border interception data – the first time this data has been made available for this purpose.

“We will be looking for historical establishments of insect populations as well as patterns in insect movement,” she said. “This is an exciting opportunity to work together to learn more about similarities and differences between our countries’ respective biosecurity systems. We can’t stop everything, but we need to be able to predict and prevent everything we can.”

The Fulbright Future Scholarship, funded by The Kinghorn Foundation is an award offered under the Fulbright Program, the United States Government’s most prestigious foreign exchange scholarship that aims to promote understanding and the exchange of ideas between the US and other countries.

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Source: USC

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