Celebrating Science Week and APVMA’s regulatory science

Chief Scientist Phil Reeves APVMA
14 August 2017
Phil Reeves, Chief Scientist

This week is National Science Week which celebrates Australia’s scientific community and the role that science plays in our lives. In this post we want to recognise the invaluable contribution that APVMA scientists make to agricultural productivity and veterinary practice.

APVMA regulatory scientists evaluate the data industry provides as part of their application for chemical product registration to ensure products do what they claim and are safe for people , animals and the environment.

With over 24 million pets in Australia and the gross value of Australian farm production in excess of $60 billion in 2016-17, access to safe and reliable agvet products has never been more important.

It’s not surprising that regulatory scientists are a highly experienced and qualified group.  30 per cent of APVMA regulatory scientists have been working in the field for more than 10 years and 38 per cent for five to 10 years.

Our team of over 90 scientists are from disciplines including agricultural and veterinary sciences, human health, chemistry, biology and toxicology.  Most of our scientists have a masters and/or PhD qualification in these fields.

This broad scientific expertise allows us to assess a wide range of products. It can also be seen in our work on global joint chemical reviews.

Recently APVMA scientists and Canadian and New Zealand counterparts were awarded by the Canadian Government for their work on the first trilateral joint review and approval of a veterinary chemical product. This work resulted in Australian farmers gaining faster access to a safe and effective veterinary product for use on sheep.

To maintain the regulatory science capability that is required in the APVMA, last month we launched our Accelerated Regulatory Science Training Program. On completion, participants will be able to demonstrate and apply highly specialised skills and knowledge as a regulatory scientist at the APVMA, receiving a nationally recognised vocational qualification – the Diploma of Government (Regulatory Science).

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will be discussing the antimicrobial resistance report and what it means for the future of veterinary medicine regulation in Australia.

Vegetables photo, providing an example of a crop that could use pesticides that are regulated by the APVMA