Workshop a Success
The Alternative Paradigms for Commercializing Biological Control Workshop was held May 31 - June 2 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. This Workshop addressed the need for a new paradigm for biopesticides that emphasizes their strengths, as distinct from the current paradigm, which has been to try to make biological control agents chemical analogues, an approach that emphasizes their weaknesses. The goals of the Workshop were to identify potential opportunities, understand how to develop enterprises that implement and deliver biocontrol, recommend new research directions, and identify potential partnerships. The 114 participants provided a challenging interdisciplinary mix of expertise, including regulators, researchers, extension, industry, environmentalists, and growers to fulfill their charge to "think different." Many speakers were from "outside the box" of biocontrol (e.g., the food industry, which meets similar difficulties in marketing highly perishable products) and served to stimulate discussion during the breakout sessions. In the closing address, Dr. Jeffrey Waage discussed "bending" the paradigm, principally via education. The need for such training in biocontrol was a recurrent theme throughout the meeting. Follow up for the Workshop will be provided by the co-organizers: Rutgers University and the Experiment Station Committee on Policy - Working Group on Biological Control (ESCOP-WGBC). The Rutgers co-organizers are preparing a document for distribution that presents the discussions and recommendations. The ESCOP-WGBC will attempt to implement some of the actions suggested at the Workshop.
- Randy Gaugler, Rutgers University, New Jersey
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