Improving decision making for crop pest biosecurity

Controlling crop production threats from existing and exotic pests and diseases

Biosecurity economics has recently developed as a discipline to respond to the economic damage done by exotic pests and diseases.

Projects related to biosecurity economics link pest biology and ecology to the costs and benefits of alternative decisions. Biosecurity economics is also about the value of information and taking decisions with partial information.

In the long term it is also about developing strategies that reduce the threat of a pest without using environmentally damaging pesticides.

Two specific projects are:

  • The economics of pest surveillance; how valuable is it to society to know that a pest is present sooner rather than later?
  • Designing incentives to encourage coordinated action by farmers on pests. This second project may be jointly supervised by Mark Hurlstone in the School of Psychological Sciences

    For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Associate Professor Benedict White

I am an agricultural and environmental economist who has worked in the UK and Australia. My research interests include biosecurity economics, the design of environmental contracts for mines and agri-environmental contracts to protect biodiversity.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project:

  • Candidates will be considered with a range of undergraduate degrees: economics, agricultural science, biology and environmental science. However, as part of their degrees, candidates should have completed intermediate units in statistics and applied mathematics, for instance as units in mathematics for economics or mathematics for biology.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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