Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett today announced the appointment of The University of Western Australia's Professor Peter Klinken as the new Chief Scientist of Western Australia, the third UWA researcher to be appointed to the role.
The leading medical researcher said he hoped his tenure would oversee a change in research focus for the State.
"I hope I can play a role as Chief Scientist in turning Perth into a centre for innovation and creativity that will see us move from our successes in oil and gas mining to creating new industries in biotechnology," Professor Klinken said.
Mr Barnett welcomed Professor Klinken as the new Chief Scientist, a role that provides expert advice on science to the State Government.
"The Chief Scientist provides important input to support the Government in building the State's science industries to achieve future prosperity for West Australians," he said.
Professor Klinken is highly regarded for advancing the understanding of genes involved in leukaemia, cancer and anaemia, and his many research achievements include the discovery of a gene that supresses the growth of tumours.
He played a key role in establishing the State's premier adult medical research institute, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (previously the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research) in 1998.
Under his stewardship, the institute attracted world-class national and international researchers to the State and made many acclaimed medical discoveries.
Professor Klinken also spearheaded the development of two new state-of-the-art medical research facilities, Perkins North in Nedlands (QEII Medical Centre) and Perkins South in Murdoch (Fiona Stanley Hospital). Together the facilities will house more than 800 researchers.
Outgoing Chief Scientist, UWA Professor Lyn Beazley, served in the position for seven years (2006 to 2013) and oversaw what she described as "a tremendous growth in citizen science important to protect our environment by educating young people and the entire community in some of the challenges we face". She also congratulated Professor Klinken on his new role.
"I think it's a very important position linking government, industry, academia and the community itself," Professor Beazley said. "I'm thrilled Professor Klinken is taking over and I'm sure he'll do an excellent job."
Professor Beazley will become a distinguished fellow at UWA's Institute of Advanced Studies where she intends to continue to work to link academia with government and industry as well as involve the community in understanding the importance of science by providing feedback on the way it can contribute.
UWA Adjunct Professor Bruce Hobbs AO was the inaugural Chief Scientist (2003-2006).
David Stacey (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716