Flexibility the key for Melanie


Peracto Lead Study Director Melanie Bower says the ability to easily switch gears between study directing GLP trials, leading her team and meeting client requirements is the key to a successful work day.

What is your title at Peracto?

I am the Lead Study Director within the GLP team, based in Devonport, TAS. In my role, I lead a team of six people who I support directly in my role whilst also working closely with QA.

Where has your study and career taken you until now?

Prior to my tertiary study I had the opportunity to study a certificate three in agriculture at Tocal Agricultural College, in the Hunter region of NSW. This gave me a lot of hands on, practical skills doing all sorts of things - from driving tractors, fencing, using a chainsaw, mustering and milking cows. After Ag College, I studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agronomy) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, regional NSW. I really loved being in a thriving country town where I could immerse myself in the agricultural industry and it’s where my love for research started with opportunities to be part of a CSIRO internship working in cotton. I also spent three months of my honours project in Southern Vietnam working with maize and compost as a fertiliser. I’ve worked with Peracto for almost nine years, starting as a graduate through the graduate development program. I spent the early part of my time with Peracto working in the field for 2.5 years, doing GLP and efficacy trials, before moving to Tasmania to become a full time Study Director in the GLP team.

What does an average work day look like to you?

Being a Study Director involves developing a depth of understanding of a wide range of crops whilst balancing the needs/resources of the field staff, analytical laboratory and the client’s requirements all within the OECD principles of GLP - it’s multi-faceted and generally all running at once so I am generally having to switch gears and be flexible over my day. No one day ever really looks the same but I do try to stick to some general routines whilst being able to be flexible as much as I can. My “normal” day encompass a lot of computer work and project management - writing study plans for GLP trials, reviewing raw data to ensure all GLP and trial requirements are met as the trial progresses, completing reports, preparing quotes for clients, managing deadlines, problem solving and training and supporting staff both within the GLP team and the field staff working around Australia and New Zealand.

What do you love most about your job?

For me, it’s working closely with clients to produce high quality outcomes and to meet their requirements for GLP field trials, whilst working within GLP management systems in a wide range of crops. Crops can range from broadacre cereals, cotton, vegetables (brassicas, fruiting vegetables), fruit (tropical, stone, pome fruit), tree nuts and wine and table grapes. I also work with great people within Peracto and love being able to support and train them in a way that puts helpful, simple tools and resources in their hands to conduct GLP trials well and to a high quality.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

Time management and prioritising what is important is critical.