Dr Kathy Evans

Senior Research Fellow TIA Program Leader – Value Creation and Impact Member since 2005 Associate Editor for the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research.  

What attracted you to your current role

Tasmania offered a chance to carve out a research niche and an opportunity to contribute to an emerging and buoyant wine industry. I had come from two Adelaide-based Cooperative Research Centres (Viticulture, Weed Management) and was ready to be kicked out of the post-doctoral nest!

Tell us about an interesting finding in your current or past research.

We recently reported that early spring frost injury might not be as bad as some imagine. There can be significant yield compensation, albeit lags in E-L growth stage. read more > A more fundamental ‘pathology’ highlight was associating powdery mildew susceptibility of grapevine leaves with carbohydrate sink-source status and rate of leaf emergence. This finding relates to the ecological question “To grow or to defend?”

What inspires you?

Vineyard managers and farmers in general. My expert knowledge is useless unless I can integrate it properly with their vast experiential knowledge and know-how.

What or whom do you look up to the most and why?

Mindful, self-aware people who test assumptions and approach the world with a sense of curiosity. It is these people who challenge group-think and functional stupidity (google it).

Outside of your work, tell us some interesting facts about yourself

I am an accredited Level 1 coach (Australian Sports Commission) for dragon-boat paddling, representing Tasmania at the Australian Championships. My two sons (now young adults) will testify that I am a less grumpy Mum when I paddle!

What is the best piece of career advice you've been given?

Don’t wait to be given permission. You have a mandate to influence the type of environment you want to work in.

What advice or recommendation do you have for students interested in a career in wine science?

Learn that for science to be effective it needs to be humble! Innovation is not just technology, for example. We need to understand the role of science in the bigger picture. I had great fun last year giving a seminar called “Don’t be such a bloody expert!” - drawing on the many talks/workshops I have done around regional Australia. I would also recommend taking every opportunity to engage with industry and seize opportunities for extra-curricular professional development and networking, including the various leadership programs for early-career professionals. Try and undertake some of your learning in another region or overseas.

How long have you been a member of ASVO and why would you recommend ASVO to your colleagues?

I have been an ASVO member for 13 years joining in 2005. What makes a Society is a group of passionate people who create a good environment for professional networking and learning. ASVO punches well above its weight. The social events are awesome! I am currently an Associate Editor for the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. I have also presented three times to the annual seminar of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology:2008 (Latest R&D on Botrytis), 2013 (Managing Difficult Vintages) and 2017 (Data to Decisions)

What other organisations do you contribute to?

I am currently on the Leadership Team of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (my employer) – mostly about strategy formation and supporting strategic decisions across our broad ‘agriculture and food’ portfolio of research, learning and teaching, industry development, community engagement and extension.

I also provide advice to the Tasmanian Government as the need arises, for example, on biosecurity issues. I serve on various expert panels nationally and currently attend Wine Tasmania’s Technical Committee as an observer.