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The National Diagnostic Protocols (NDPs) are an integral component of Australia’s plant biosecurity system. The process of development is managed by the Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostics (SPHD).

NDPs provide the minimum requirements for diagnostic procedures and the detection and identification methods for plant pests. Information is provided on the pest, its host and taxonomic status and the methods to detect and identify it based on the best available information. NDPs may cover a species, an intra-specific taxon, several species within a genus or multiple genera of related pests. In addition, NDPs now contain a section on diagnostics to support surveillance (Section 9). This provides information on the in-field and laboratory procedures utilised in the screening, detection or identification of plant pests in a surveillance situation. These procedures are to be used to support surveillance activities and are NOT to be used for a definitive identification in an initial detection.

NDPs are developed by plant biosecurity diagnosticians or research scientists in accordance with SPHD reference standards, and includes peer review, verification, and endorsement by SPHD. Following endorsement, NDPs are reviewed on a 5-yearly basis to determine whether the protocol allows a taxonomically accurate identification of the organism, to ensure currency and accuracy of the information contained within the protocol, and to provide any recommendations for improvements.

The National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Professional Development and Protocol project is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to enhance and strengthen Australia’s diagnostic capability and capacity to detect and identify plant pests that impact Australia’s plant industries, the environment and the community.

The current project

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from plant biosecurity diagnosticians or research scientists to undertake the following projects:

  1. Review and verification of the NDP:
    • Ralstonia solanacearum (Moko and Bugtok disease)
    • Cryptotermes spp. (Drywood termites)
  2. Verification of the NDP:
    • Homalodisca vitripennis (Glassy winged sharp shooter)

Applicants are referred to the SPHD Reference Standard 4 for further information. The Expert will prepare a brief written report of the review and verification process. The checklist, review, or verification report and any associated paperwork should be submitted to the NDP Coordinator. The final document will be approved by both author and reviewer before submission for endorsement by SPHD.

  1. Update of the following draft NDP:
  • Drosophila suzuki (Spotted winged drosophila)

Applicants are referred to the SPHD Reference Standard 2 for further information. The applicant will undertake revision (including taxonomic, if applicable), update and finalize the incomplete draft NDP. The final document will need to be approved by the author, the reviewer and the laboratory undertaking the verification of the protocol.

*Please note, EOI from the subject matter experts will only be accepted if review and verification reports can be submitted by 1 May 2024.


Applications close at 5.00pm AEDT 10 January 2024. Successful applicants will be notified before 31 January 2024.

For more details on the eligibility, application process, assessment process, guide to budgets and timeline, please download the Guidelines.

Download the Application form.