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Dr Paul De Barro

Director, Strategic Project Development


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 2583


Dr De Barro completed his PhD in insect ecology at The University of Adelaide in 1992, followed by a postdoctoral position at the University of Southampton through a George Murray Fellowship. While at Southampton he collaborated with Dr Tom Sherratt, securing an additional three years of funding to employ molecular technologies for studying insect populations. After the initial year of the project, he returned to Australia and joined CSIRO.
Dr De Barro is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO. He initially joined as a visiting scientist in Oct 1994 and was then appointed to an 11-month position as CSOF4M research scientist in July 1995. In July 1996, he was appointed as a CSOF5M research scientist and in 2009 was promoted to Senior Principal Research Scientist.
Throughout his career, Dr. De Barro has held various leadership positions, including Theme Leader in the Biosecurity Flagship from 2010 to 2013 and Research Director of the Risk Evaluation and Preparedness Program in the Health & Biosecurity Business Unit from 2014 to 2021. His current focus centers on the development of large-scale strategic projects.
Internationally recognized for his work on the globally important pest, Bemisia tabaci, Dr De Barro received the CSIRO Chairman's Medal for his team’s research. This work resulted in an average 46% reduction in insecticide costs and an average 17% increase in yields in tomato, melon, and vegetable production across Qld and NSW with an estimated benefit-cost of up to 13:1.
In addition, Dr. De Barro has received several other awards for his work, including the CSIRO Collaboration medal for his role in the preclinical assessment of Covid vaccines and the 2022 CSIRO Trusted Medal for his role in CSIRO's Japanese Encephalitis response. He is the Editor in Chief of Bulletin of Entomological Research, the world's oldest Entomological Journal, a role he has filled since 2015.
Dr De Barro has led innovative multidisciplinary research in biosecurity science and technology since 2010. Until 2021, he led a multidisciplinary, cross-CSIRO team of around 60 to 130 individuals drawn from Health and Biosecurity, Land and Water, Oceans and Atmosphere, Data61, Agriculture & Food, National Collections, Manufacturing to address major national and industry biosecurity problems. His program undertook research spanning human, animal, plant, and environmental biosecurity, with a particular focus on the development of autonomous biosecurity technology to support in-field deployment at scale. His program oversaw the establishment of two startup companies, PPB Technology and RapidAIM. Dr De Barro conceived the Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance Mission in July 2019 and led the Mission through its foundation years before handing on the leadership in 2021. The Mission launched in Feb 2023. He was also a key contributor to the establishment of the Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission.
Over the past year he has led the H&B Biosecurity APaIR project, Future technologies for Australia’s Biosecurity. As part of this he developed the 'First Three Months', a program aimed at helping teams explore whether the research that they could do, is research they should do. The program is framed around the set of questions a team needs to explore, before they get into the lab. The aim is to help teams work out whether they should take their idea to the lab to further develop. These questions help teams frame their north star and provides clear guidance as to the need and value of their research idea as validated through customer and end-user insights. This approach helps teams to fast fail an idea that is wrong and help them find (refine) their idea to one that is worth proceeding to prototyping. The program runs for the life of the APaIR investment and is aimed at facilitating culture change towards a translation mindset.

Other Interests

Doctor Who and red wine particularly Pinot Noir,
Biosecurity as a Business Opportunity:

Current Roles

  • Research Director
    Health & Biosecurity

Achievements and Awards

  • 2014

    Chairman's Medal

  • 2007

    Medal For Research Achievement

Other highlights

  • 2013

    Plenary, First International Whitefly Symposium. Kolymbari, Crete

  • 2013

    Invited guest speaker, Washington State Univesity, Washington, USA

  • 2013

    Invited guest speaker, UC Davis, California, USA

  • 2012

    Keynote, Integrated pest management symposium and review of the Directorate of Research and Development, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority

  • 2012

    Keynote, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad.

  • 2011

    Keynote, 4th European Whitefly Symposium. Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 2011

    Invited, CFIA Science Symposium 2011. Better Models - Better Assessments: The Use of Models in Plant Health and Biotechnology Risk Assessment, Ottawa, Canada.

  • 2010

    Invited, 11th International Symposium on the biosafety of genetically modified organisms. Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • 2010

    Keynote, 2010, International Symposium on future directions in Bemisia research, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

  • 2010

    Ivited, 4th International Pest Risk Modelling & Mapping Workshop, Port Douglas, Australia

  • 2009

    Invited, 2009, Integrated Management of Dates in the Sultanate of Oman. Muscat, Oman

  • 2009

    Keynote, 5th International Bemisia Workshop, Guangzhou, China

  • 2009

    Keynote, International Congress on Biological Invasion, Fuzhou, China. Plenary with Liu Shu-Sheng and David Crowder

  • 2007

    Invited, 2nd International Barcodes Conference, Taipei, Taiwan

  • 2006

    Invited, 4th International Bemisia Workshop, Florida, USA

  • 2005

    Plenary, APEC Invasive Alien Species Workshop, Beijing, China

  • 2004

    Keynote, European Whitefly Symposium II, Cavtat, Croatia

  • 2003

    Keynote, 3rd International Bemisia Conference, Barcelona

  • 2001

    Keynote, European Whitefly Symposium, Sicily, Italy

  • 2000

    Invited, XXI International Congress of Entomology, Iguassu, Brazil

  • 1997

    Keynote, Third Asia Pacific Entomology Congress, Taichung, Taiwan