Keynote speakers


Dr Sonia Graham
University of Wollongong – CAWS Orator

Dr Sonia Graham has studied the mechanisms of successful collective weed management for over 10 years. Initially, her work focused on understanding what prevents and enables private landholders and governments to manage weeds collaboratively. Recommendations from her early work were incorporated into invasive species policy reviews in NSW. More recently, she has been interested in understanding the role that scientists can also play in such cooperative endeavours. In 2016, she ran the International Workshop on Weeds and Invasive Plants in Canada, which aimed to make holistic weed management a reality through transdisciplinarity. In February, she is co-leading the Australian Academy of Science 2020 Fenner conference on the Environment, which is driven by the question: What are the highest priority actions we can commit to, working together across boundaries and disciplines, that will deliver the greatest contribution to radically improved weed management research, policy and practice in Australia? Dr Graham has recently been awarded an ARC DECRA for her project titled: Catalyzing collective action for effective weed management. She is also the lead of the social science project on the Rural R&D for Profit grant titled: Area wide management for cropping systems weeds, investigating the weed management, social and economic opportunity.

Dr Andy Sheppard FRSE FTSE
CSIRO Health & Biosecurity

CSIRO Research Program Director – Managing Invasive Species & Diseases – Health & Biosecurity & Director of the CSIRO European laboratory. Andy is a population ecologist with an international reputation in biological control and risk assessment focussed on the management of invasions of invasive plants, invertebrates, vertebrates and pathogens. His achievements are broadly divided into three areas: a) invasive species ecology and population dynamics supporting management – a strong focus on the native vs. exotic range comparative approach; b) risk analysis and prioritization of biological control options based on actual and potential the impacts of both invasive species and biological control agents, and c) major beneficial impacts through leading twelve biological control programs against weeds, invertebrates and vertebrates. Andy is on a number of international science-policy advisory and review committees including the CBD Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group, IPBES Invasive Alien Species Global Assessment and the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Dr Jane Catford
Kings’ College London

Dr Jane Catford is a plant community ecologist focused on biological invasions. She is fascinated in the causes, consequences and processes of plant invasions, and seeks to use fundamental understanding of plant invasions to find effective ways to prevent and manage them. Working across terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, she uses theoretical, quantitative and empirical approaches in her work, and collaborates widely. She has established and maintains long-term invasion experiments in the US, UK and Australia. Jane joined the Department of Geography at King’s College London in 2018. She previously held an academic position at the University of Southampton, also in the UK. From 2012-2016, she held a research fellowship with the Australian Research Council, and worked at the University of Melbourne, Australian National University and University of Minnesota. She is an Editor for the journals Conservation Letters, Journal of Ecology and Neobiota.

Conference Dinner Speaker – Anika Molesworth
Farmers for Climate Action

It was the impacts of decade-long Millennium drought on her family’s farm that spurred Anika’s interest in climate change, and how to ensure sustainable and vibrant farming landscapes into the future. Anika is a recognised thought-leader of agro-ecological systems resilience, she is an agricultural science researcher, communicator and works in international agricultural development. Anika is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming, environmental conservation, youth engagement and climate change action. She is a director of Farmers for Climate Action, a movement that puts farmers on the front lines of climate change and at the front and centre of the solutions. Farmers for Climate Action was founded three years ago and is now a movement of 5,000 farmers across Australia taking action behind and beyond the farm gate. With a keen interest in communicating the solutions held by agriculture to some of our largest global challenges – Anika uses her scientific background and lived on-farm experience to engage a wide audience to agriculture. Anika was named the 2015 Young Farmer of the Year, was the 2017 Young Australian of the Year NSW Finalist, and most recently, a Future Shaper by InStyle and Audi, and a Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review.