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The Diagnostic Residential Program (referred to as Diagnostic Residentials) provides funding for plant biosecurity diagnosticians to visit external laboratories to gain essential skills and knowledge relevant to their role and allow the sharing of ideas and practices. The underpinning purpose of the Diagnostic Residentials is to improve the national plant biosecurity diagnostic capability and capacity by upskilling the diagnosticians.

The program has been offered to NPBDN members since 2013 and is an integral component of the professional development framework for the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network (NPBDN).


Diagnostic Residentials involve plant biosecurity diagnostician(s) spending time in another laboratory, workplace, or by participating in relevant activities that improve the national capability to identify plant pests.

Examples of previous project formats include:

  • Drafting a National Diagnostic Protocol after visiting a laboratory with expertise in the target pest(s)
  • Learning new techniques or gaining exposure to laboratory accreditation by visiting laboratories where the technique or practices are currently implemented
  • Improving diagnostic skills by working with a pest expert in another Australian diagnostic laboratory
  • Arranging for an expert to come to your laboratory and run workshops on specific identification skills or techniques not currently held within the laboratory
  • Participating in a surveillance program to gain field experience and/or provide advice on sampling methods to improve diagnostic outcomes
  • Visiting a laboratory overseas to get direct experience with significant plant pests.

Projects should show benefit to the NPBDN and address a known diagnostic gap or improve identification capability for National Priority Plant Pests (NPPPs), plant diseases and their pathogens on the Priority list of exotic environmental pests and diseases, High Priority Pests of plant industries or emerging plant pests.

Want to apply?

The program is advertised on the NPBDN website in the middle of each year. Only NPBDN members currently employed in a plant health laboratory or organisation in Australia or New Zealand are eligible for the program.

To join the NPBDN, click the join button at the top of the page and complete the registration.

Further information

Please read through the NPBDN Residential Guidelines and the Host Commitments GuidelinesDownload the Diagnostics Residential Application Template 2023.

Full details about the program, examples of previous participants and their projects are available in the members portal.