Dr Peter Whittle


BAgSc, University of Adelaide, 1984; PhD, University of Adelaide, 1993; MBA, University of Queensland, 2003


Principal Research Fellow, CRC National Plant Biosecurity, Queensland University of Technology.


My research interests are in biosecurity science, including surveillance design and risk analysis at present. I began my career in 1985 as a plant pathologist in South Australia, carrying out applied research and working with farming industries on cereal root diseases; I undertook my PhD in this time. After relocating to Queensland for family reasons in 1992, I worked for 6 years in a similar position in the sugar industry (BSES) and had the opportunity to specialise in quarantine operations and research. This enabled me to take a position in 2000 with Biosecurity Queensland (BQ – then DPI-APHS) in Cairns, managing biosecurity projects based in the banana industry and for plants and animals in remote areas, giving me further experience in operations, policy and regulation as well as science. In 2003, I relocated with BQ to Brisbane and worked as Principal Scientist in many facets of biosecurity, at an exciting time when the national biosecurity system was evolving rapidly. My time with BQ included heavy involvement in emergency responses and eradications including banana black Sigatoka and citrus canker – it was rather a relief to have the opportunity to spend a sabbatical at QUT helping to develop surveillance systems for non-indigenous species in the Gorgon gas project at Barrow Island, Western Australia. The success of this project resulted in my taking a longer contract at QUT, where I hope to continue in biosecurity science projects for the CRC NPB.

Areas of Interest

My key projects are in surveillance design and risk analysis. My broad experience in biosecurity enables me to collaborate with QUT statisticians to undertake research in a variety of areas and we are developing new projects in biosecurity surveillance and applying Bayesian Belief Networks to biosecurity problems.

Career Highlights

As a member of the Gorgon project team, I was proud to receive the CRC NPB award in 2009 for Impact on Industry, then a QUT Vice-Chancellor’s Performance Award. I have found each step of my career to be extremely gratifying, through working on problems that have demonstrable impact on industries and developing tangible solutions. My work has enabled me to travel widely and meet many people.

Current Project

‘Statistical Design of Terrestrial Invertebrate, Plant and Vertebrate Surveillance for Barrow Island’ – CRC National Plant Biosecurity

Other Details

I am a cycling nut – love my bikes and riding them every day – road, dirt, fixed, track – social, skills, racing. I love the sea – kayaking, surfing, swimming. I would love to live in a cold climate, to ski and skate. People are very important to me – family, friends, loved ones. Ideas and aesthetics – quality media – keep the mind busy outside work.

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