Economic evaluation of innovative technologies: South Australia’s use of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to control the Queensland fruit fly
Innovative technologies often show great promise but require funding for their development and implementation. Prof. Shepard’s research is focusing on benefit-cost analyses of an innovative approach to controlling one of South Australia’s major biosecurity risks, the Queensland fruit fly. South Australia and Tasmania are Australia’s only states free of this agricultural pest. This allows export of fresh fruit from its Pest Free Area (PFA) without the expense and possible quality loss fromtreatment.
However, this pest freedom is under constant threat from insects and fruit in border states. One promising approach is the prophylactic use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), whereby irradiated male flies are released from a specially adapted airplane. This approach ensures that any female fly that strays into the PFA does not lead to an outbreak. With support and guidance from Will Zacharin, Executive Director of Biosecurity for PIRSA, this study is examining the costs and benefits of this proposed approach. It also provides a framework applicable to other innovative technologies in agriculture and health.
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About your Speaker
Don came to Adelaide through the Australian-US Fulbright Program. In the USA, he is Professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, and directs its Cost and Value Group. His research examines methods and applications of cost and cost-benefit analysis in the United States and globally, focusing on incentives and major diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, HIV/AIDS, and heart disease), several of which are transmitted by insects.
He co-developed the QALY (Quality-Adjusted Life Year), served on a Scientific Technical Advisory Group for the World Health Organization, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He holds MPP and PhD degrees in public policy from Harvard University and has published 3 books and 200 peer-reviewed papers.