Applications OPEN - Deadline extended - Sept. 20th


In partnership with the Crawford Fund, NSW Department of Primary Industries will be running a plant biosecurity summer internship in 2022. Join us for a 6-week hands-on course in plant health, biosecurity, and diagnostics. Our Biosecurity Summer Internship Program offers real world biosecurity and plant health science experience, giving you the chance to work on real projects alongside lead scientists and researchers at NSW DPI.

Our Internship Program is designed to provide valuable hands-on experience within the plant health and biosecurity sector. By undertaking an internship with us, you will:

  • Work with biosecurity experts and renowned researchers on real world biosecurity activities and research projects.
  • Develop and improve your laboratory and research skills, communication, and project and time management.
  • Build your professional network with NSW Department of Primary Industries teams and collaborators.
  • Discover career path opportunities in government research and scientific services.

You will work with our staff and scientists across the biosecurity spectrum gaining experience and training in surveillance, diagnostics, research, and emergency response operations as well as an understanding of policy, market access and stakeholder engagement.

Aerial view of Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute

Aerial view of Orange Agricultural Institute


  • Applications open: 28 July 2021
  • Application Deadline: COB; 20th September 2021
  • Notification of Results: 4th October 2021
  • Internship dates:
    • Jan 10 – 28 at Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute
    • Jan 13 – Feb 18 – at Orange Agricultural Institute


To be eligible to apply, you:

  • Are an undergraduate student enrolled in a NSW university.
  • Must have completed at least 96 credit points (or equivalent) at the time of application.
  • Have achieved a weighted average mark (WAM) of 70 (or equivalent) in your degree program.


  • Successful applicants will be awarded a scholarship for the program.
  • Scholarships are  $5,000, paid directly to the student.
  • $500 will be retained and awarded upon submission of a final report.


  • Applications will be assessed on a range of factors including academic merit and your responses to the application questions.
  • Applications are assessed by a selection committee.
  • Applications will open on 2 August 2021 and close COB; 20th September 2021.
  • Notifications will be sent out in October 2021.

For further information or clarification contact:

Dr. Jordan Bailey - Leader Plant Pathology Curation, NSW DPI

  • Phone: 0438 618 745
  • Email:

Professor Lester Burgess - Member, NSW Committee, Crawford Fund of Australia

  • Phone: 0417 778 345
  • Email:
  • Instagram: crawfordfundlaos

About our organisations and partnership

The Crawford Fund of Australia is committed to alleviating poverty, improving food security and nutrition, and promoting sustainable production systems in the developing world. It is also committed to increasing public awareness of the mutual benefits to Australia of supporting international development through capacity building of overseas and Australian farmers, agricultural scientists, and students. However, the Crawford Fund is limited in size and resources, and works in partnership with many Australian agencies including ACIAR, state and territory Governments, CSIRO, Universities and the Australian Volunteer Program (DFAT).

Within the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Plant Biosecurity Research and Diagnostics Unit includes over 50 scientists in six locations across NSW. We are responsible for delivering the science that supports the NSW Chief Plant Protection Officer to respond to biosecurity incursions of pests and pathogens and to protect market access for NSW plant industries. Our unit has scientists from Technical Assistants to Principal Research Scientists with expertise in research, diagnostics and taxonomy in both plant pathology and entomology.

In NSW the relationship between the Crawford Fund and the NSW Department of Primary Industries is particularly strong, with a number of on-going projects in SE Asia. The benefits of these projects flow both to farmers and their families in the developing countries and in NSW. These projects are focussed on plant and animal biosecurity, the diagnosis of plant diseases, pests and weeds, the development of appropriate control programs, and improving crop production systems.

This collaboration delivers significant benefits to the biosecurity of NSW plant industries. Contributing our expertise to strengthen plant biosecurity in South East Asia reduces the likelihood that exotic threats will make it to NSW. Handling current biosecurity threats that are exotic to Australia in other countries also increases the likelihood our scientists will be better prepared to detect and identify exotic threats if they do make it here.

Research Areas and Learning Activities Involved in the Program

Scholars will learn through tutorials, laboratory studies and crop disease and pest surveys as well presentation on the work of DPI staff and scientists and the Crawford fund.

Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute

Orange Agricultural Institute & NSW DPI Head Office

Plant Health Diagnostic Service

  • Plant disease diagnostics
  • Disease surveys of horticultural crops
  • Integrated disease management
  • Pathogen isolation and culturing
  • Morphological identification and higher-level classification,
  • DNA extraction, molecular identification.

Collection management

  • Specimen accessioning, data capture and management
  • Imaging (macro, micro, SEM)
  • ISO 9001/NATA certification
  • Taxonomy, nomenclature, phylogenetics


  • Genome sequencing
  • Diagnostic development
  • In vivo inoculations

Fungal and bacterial culturing and preservation techniques

  • Culture purification
  • Freeze drying
  • Cryopreservation

Entomology research

  • Insecticide resistance
  • Fruit fly management
  • Post-harvest control
  • Disease vector ecology

Entomology diagnostics

  • Collection, dissection, slide making, microscopy,
  • Morphological identification and higher-level classification.
  • DNA extraction & molecular identification.
  • Emergency response management

Citrus Pathology Program

  • Exotic threats to Australian citrus
  • Diagnostic development
  • Surveillance and emergency response
  • Industry collaboration

Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity team

  • Policy development and legislation
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Surveillance and area of freedom