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DAFF program encourages innovators to ‘sniff out’ biosecurity pests: AgriFutures

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Judy Kennedy, AgriFutures Australia, Media Release, 7 November 2022

Australian engineers from global company RingIR will visit the US Department of Agriculture in Boston next month, to test whether their revolutionary technology can be used to ‘sniff out’ pests that attach themselves to containers or other cargo (known as hitchhiker pests).

RingIR’s patented vapour detection technology enables it to identify individual gases in the environment through their unique chemical ‘fingerprint’ and can be used to measure fumigants in shipping containers, vapour leaks and mine ventilation, as well as harmful gases in military operations.

The company will now test whether its Multi-Hazard Detector (MHD2000) can pick up the scent of agricultural pests such as the khapra beetle and varroa mite, after teaming up with the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) under its Biosecurity Innovation Program (BIP).

DAFF is calling for nominations for the next round of the annual BIP, which identifies and funds innovative ideas to boost the effectiveness of Australia’s national biosecurity system.

The Program has funded 120 projects to date, with 24 projects being delivered in the 2022-23 financial year. DAFF Director of Research and Innovation, Biosecurity and Compliance Group, Jessica May, said the annual budget is around $5 million and the BIP typically funds 20-25 projects a year.

“Applications are considered on their individual merits, but must have a solid biosecurity focus. Last year over 100 expressions of interest were received,” said Jessica.

“Any ideas that companies bring to the BIP remain theirs. Companies are still free to pursue any other commercial opportunities outside DAFF and keep their IP.”

Do you have an innovative idea to enhance Australia’s biosecurity system? Applications are open for the 2023-24 DAFF BIP funding round, here via growAG. and close 11.00pm AEST Friday, 2 December 2022


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