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Professor Rebecca Ford


Rebecca Ford

Dean (Research)
Office of PVC (Sciences)
+61 (0)7 3735 5066 (Work)
+61 (0)413 585 439 (Work)
N44 0.10, Nathan Campus

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Hi - here's a little about myself. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in research collaboration, contract research or to undertake postgraduate research studies. I lead a collaborative, multidisciplinary and outcome focused research programs, to improve the sustainability of local, regional, national and international food production systems through development and implementation of novel tools for informed crop management. I achieve this by working alongside collaborative researchers, growers, breeders and other industry representatives. Through alignment with relevant industry sectors, I have secured funding from ARC, R&D Corps, grains and horticulture industries and private enterprise. Specifically, I have developed and implemented novel tools for selective breeding to improve the sustainability of plant-derived food production systems through mitigation of biotic and abiotic factors that impact yield and quality. I have supervised >30 PhD students to successful completion. Many of whom now hold senior roles in the agricultural and plant science sectors. My motivation lies in being able to directly apply her research outputs to increase productivity for grower income and industry growth, whilst reducing impacts on the environment from non-sustainable practices. This is a grounded research vision aligned with the major global concern of “Food Security”, in line with several SDGs and the Griffith Strategic Investment priority of “Environment Sustainability”. My research performance in food security and environmental sustainability is evidenced by research outputs that are immediately adopted by industry. I have provided molecular markers for applied selective breeding within the Australian and Canadian lentil industries, revised disease management plans for the chickpea industry implemented by NSW Department of Primary Industries, Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and South Australian Research and Development Institute. Also, productivity and quality assessment measures implemented by Papaya Australia and national diagnostic protocols implemented by Biosecurity Australia. By working closely with the food production industries, I have created real change towards ensuring future food security under the following four major themes: Theme 1 – Development and validation of novel genomic selective markers for improved and sustainable lentil production. Working closely with the Industry (breeders, pathologists and state government), Secured over $4M in Cat 1 funding as CI from ARC-Linkage (LP0348588) and GRDC (CUR00014 and CUR00023). Outputs included completion of 7 PhD and 2 Masters candidates, 8 book chapters, 19 manuscripts and several direct industry outcomes including molecular tools for resistance breeding, resistant cultivars and new genotyping tools to establish Plant Breeder Rights. Theme 2 – Development and implementation of best-practice disease management strategy for chickpea. I led the national GRDC funded program in chickpea pathology (UM00052) with a focus on developing management and breeding tools. For this, she secured as lead CI $1.77M through ARC-Linkage (LP0347326 and LP0990385) and GRDC (UM00039 and UM00052). This translated into 3 book chapters, >20 manuscripts and many direct industry outcomes including revised disease management plans, selective breeding tools and resistant cultivars, completion of 5 PhD and 4 Masters candidates. I am ranked within the top five most relevant global experts in this area Theme 3 – the National Papaya Breeding Program I lead the Program for improved agronomic and fruit quality (PP00015 and PP00018) funded to date at $1.24m by Hort Innovation . Outcomes include completion of 2 PhD candidates, 3 book chapter, 7 manuscripts, the papaya handbook, selective breeding tools and advanced breeding lines currently undergoing PBR protection. Theme 4 – Sensitive and selective diagnostic protocols and tools for overcoming biotic and abiotic constraints. Outputs under this broad theme include large Cat 1 research grants including: ARC-Linkage (LP0455487; $360K), GRDC (UM00015; $243K), ACIAR (CIM/2000/035; $1.13M), AISRF (GCF010013; $3M) and most recently 2 x ARC Research Industry Transformation Hubs ($13.58M). Also 18 PhD and 2 Masters completions, 12 book chapters, >70 manuscripts and outputs to industry including trained personnel immediately employed by industry following completion of studies, novel breeding tools for drought and salinity tolerances, monitoring and surveillance and National Diagnostic Protocols. In total I have won as CI over $32m in National Competitive Grants and tenders in the broad area of Food Security and Environmental Sustainability over the last 5 years, including lead CI of $1.24m for two Hort Innovation and $1.22m for two GRDC programs and co-lead CI on a $0.4m ARC LEIF and >$14m for two ARC ITR Hubs. Full publication list is available at LinkedIn:


  • Member
    Environmental Futures Research Institute1 Jan 2015
  • Dean Research - Science Group
    Griffith University, Australia1 Nov 2017
  • Chair - Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
    Griffith Sciences, Australia1 Jan 2017


  • Bachelor of Science - joint major in Biochemistry and Biology
    Griffith University, Australia
  • Doctor of Philospohy - in molecular plant pathology
    The University of Melbourne, Australia