Gary Fitt

By February 15th, 2011


Dr Gary Fitt has extensive experience in agricultural sustainability and the interface between natural and managed environments.

He is an entomologist with international expertise in insect ecology and in development of strategies to prevent insects developing resistance to insecticides and to the proteins which are the active agent in the transgenic insect resistant plants. His studies in insect migration and activity in various crops were vital to the cotton industry having in place a pre-emptive management strategy to ensure the main pest of Australian cotton, the Helicoverpa caterpillar, did not develop resistance to the insecticidal proteins produced in GM cotton.

He obtained his BSc with First Class Honours and his PhD also from the University of Sydney.

He has held many roles over his career in CSIRO including:

2007 – Deputy Chief, CSIRO Entomology
2006 – 2007 Assistant Chief, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra
2003 – 2006 Strategy Director, CSIRO Entomology, Brisbane, Queensland
1999 – 2003 CEO, Australian Cotton Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), Narrabri
1993 – 1999 Program Leader, Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Sustainable Cotton Production, Narrabri
1990 – 2004 Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Entomology, Narrabri
1990 – 1999 Officer in Charge and Program Leader, CSIRO Cotton Research Unit, Narrabri
1983 – 1986 Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Plant Industry, Narrabri Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Entomology, Narrabri, New South Wales
1977 – 1979 Experimental Scientist, CSIRO Entomology, Darwin, Northern Territory

In addition he was appointed:

2002 Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, at the University of Sydney
2001 Adjunct Professor of the School of Rural Science and Ecosystem Management at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales

Research interests

Dr Fitt’s research interests included:

  • ecology, behaviour, modelling and management of Helicoverpa species in multi-cropping systems which aims to develop a greater understanding of the moth’s ecology and pest management
  • integrated pest management (IPM) systems for sustainable crop production
  • field and laboratory studies of host plant resistance of cotton performance evaluation and resistance management strategies for transgenic cottons and other crops. His research on the performance and management of genetically modified Bt cotton varieties has provided the basis for current resistance management strategies in Australia.
  • agricultural sustainability and the interface of natural and managed environments where he has played a lead role in international efforts to ensure the sustainable use of genetically modified (GM) crops globally.

Honours and awards

His work has been recognised in many ways including:


2001 Fellow, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering


2006 ATSE Clunies Ross Award with Danny Llewellyn and Greg Constable, for application of science to the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of Australia
2002 Mackerras Medal, Australian Entomological Society, for excellence in entomological research
2001 Centenary Medal, Commonwealth of Australia, for service to science
1999 Sir Ian McLennan Certificate of Commendation, for contributions to industry
1993 Cotton Industry Researcher of the Year
1984 – 85 Jabez Hayden King Memorial Prize for the most meritorious Doctorate awarded in the School of Biological Sciences

Professional society membership

  • Royal Entomological Society of London
  • Australian Entomological Society
  • British Ecological Society


  • Fitt G, 2009, Personal communication.
Find out more
  • Cotton research from seed to shirt
  • Bollgard┬« II ‘ the new generation of GM cotton (CSIRO Plant Industry)
  • Prestigious award for CSIRO cotton researchers (Achievements)
  • CSIRO cotton breeders win innovation award, 2005 (Media Release)