Science comes first at the APVMA

15 August 2016

As with many Australian teams, the team of scientists at the APVMA punches well above its weight and while there are no gold medals given out for regulatory science, the team at the APVMA are world leaders in their own right.

The Australian community can have confidence in the safety of every agvet chemical for sale in Australia because of the robust scientific assessment undertaken by the internationally recognised regulatory scientists at the APVMA.

The team

Heading up the team is chief scientist Dr Phil Reeves who holds a veterinary science honours degree and a PhD in pharmacology. He is also a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and a specialist in veterinary industrial pharmacology.

Our registration, scientific evaluation and chemical review teams are headed up by Mr Alan Norden, Dr Jason Lutze and Dr Matthew O’Mullane who together bring more than 60 years of regulatory science, industry, research and farm experience to the decisions they make every day.

Science runs wide and deep

The range and complexity of scientific expertise at the APVMA is necessarily broad and reflects the range of chemicals we register, from therapeutic animal treatments through to restricted poisons, from products used in hundreds of litres in broadacre farming to tiny vials of vaccines designed to save animals' lives.

APVMA scientists are chemists and chemical engineers, microbiologists, molecular biologists, vets, medical toxicologists, geneticists, and pharmacists. They are also foresters, agronomists, zoologists and entomologists—and many have been, or still are, farmers.

Many also bring highly relevant industry experience in developing clinical trials and research, agricultural systems and supply chains and in food production and processing.

We represent Australia

Our scientists provide independent expert advice to United Nations and World Health Organisation committees such as the Joint Meeting on Pesticides Residues and represent Australia on international standard setting committees of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for pesticides and veterinary medicines.  

We currently chair three OECD committees in relation to agvet chemical regulation, and are co-chairing a group developing guidance for conducting rotational crop field trials and the emerging field of RNAi.

The JMPR is an international expert scientific group administered jointly by the United Nations FAO and the WHO. It undertakes pesticide risk assessments for the purpose of establishing safe limits of pesticide residues in food, important for international trade.

We build capability

Attracting and retaining scientific expertise is essential for the work of the APVMA. We actively identify training needs and gaps and develop our people to participate as technical experts in Australia and internationally.

We conduct an annual science day to update industry on advances in regulatory science methods as well as convening workshops and seminars for staff, industry, government and the scientific community.

Through our science fellows program we extend our expertise by tapping into academic and industry scientific excellence as required and we build future capability by working with universities to develop course content which is directly relevant to regulatory science.

You can download the factsheet here.

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