SIPMC Welcomes a New Impact Evaluation Specialist

Jean-Jacques Dubois wanted to make a difference when he started his research career. As the Southern IPM Center’s new impact evaluation specialist, he will definitely get that chance.

Born in Belgium, Jean-Jacques lived in New England for a few years after college, but his first contact with NC State University was when he enrolled as an undergraduate in the Horticultural Science program, with the intention of starting a plant nursery business. “After a while the department asked me if I would like to move into the graduate program, and I accepted and changed my plans.”

Jean-Jacques Dubois

Jean-Jacques Dubois

After obtaining his Ph.D., Jean-Jacques landed a job with the Air Quality Division of USDA Agricultural Research Service in Raleigh. There he spent two years studying the effects of carbon dioxide, ozone and temperature on plants. While he was there, he developed a method to estimate the parameters of photosynthesis using break point models, a method which is now commonly used.

From USDA he went to the Air Quality branch of the Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He worked on a diverse team of scientists putting together assessments of peer-reviewed science that impacts air quality standards. He invented a literature search method for systematic reviews that was voted ‘best EPA innovation’ by the community of EPA scientists.

While his work with EPA was important and fulfilling—reports that he worked on were used to establish air quality standards—he longed to return to a career that worked more closely with agriculture. So he left the EPA for a position with Knoell, a German company where he modeled the fate of pesticides in the environment. His data and reports were used by European agencies for pesticide registration.

However, pesticide registration was still quite removed from agricultural research, so when he saw a chance to work more closely with agricultural scientists as part of the Southern IPM Center, and come back to his alma mater, he couldn’t resist.

“This is like coming home for me,” he says. “This job actually makes a difference. Sensible pest management is something I really care about, so I’m really happy to be a part of the Southern IPM Center.”

“The people who design and implement a program almost always know when it is working, and how to increase their impact,” he says. “There is much to be gained from bringing that knowledge out and making it measurable. Evaluators are like statisticians: you should always talk to one when you are planning a project.”

Jean-Jacques can be reached at 919-515-0496 or jbdubois@ncsu.edu.

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