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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    New Chief Scientist for the smart State

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Wednesday, October 06, 2010

    New Chief Scientist for the smart State

    Premier Anna Bligh today announced the appointment of Dr Geoff Garrett AO as Queensland Chief Scientist following the retirement of Emeritus Professor Peter Andrews AO in December this year.

    “I personally congratulate Professor Peter Andrews on his tremendous dedication and many achievements in the role since he was appointed as Queensland’s first Chief Scientist in 2003,” said Ms Bligh.

    “He is leaving a lasting and valuable legacy in a number of areas. He articulated a clear vision for Queensland science and has been a pioneer in building Queensland’s thriving biotechnology sector, and he has raised the profile of our tropical research and development opportunities.”

    “He has been instrumental in moving Queensland forward as a smart State and establishing and striving for the Q2 goals of a strong, green, smart, healthy and fair Queensland.”

    Prof. Andrews’s achievements include successful tenures as Chair of both the R&D Queensland committee and the Smart State Council Standing Committee.

    He has also played a significant role in international relations including the Queensland Washington Alliance, a collaboration linking Queensland research and educational organisations with leading scientific, educational, and funding groups in Washington State; and the strengthening of Queensland’s relationship with China.

    Premier Bligh also acknowledged Prof. Andrews’ contribution as a champion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

    “Prof. Andrews has put the focus on STEM education as a foundation for Queensland’s success in a global knowledge-intensive economy,” she said.

    “He has been passionate about Queensland’s future as a smart State and providing strategic advice on how to make the most of our investment in science, R&D and innovation to maximise the social, environmental and health outcomes for all Queenslanders.”

    The Premier said, “I am pleased to say that we have found another world-class scientist who is equally passionate.”

    In a fantastic coup for science and innovation in Queensland, Dr Garrett (former CEO of CSIRO) has been appointed as the new Queensland Chief Scientist for a 3-year period on a part-time basis.

    With an extensive background in research, academia and engineering, Dr Garrett’s 8-year tenure as CEO of Australia's national science agency was defined by a program of major strategic and operational transformation, including the establishment of the Flagship Programs on the major scientific challenges for Australia e.g. water, clean energy, health and climate change.

    “Dr Garrett is the perfect person to step into this role,” said Premier Bligh.

    “He will continue to raise the profile of Queensland as a centre of science, R&D and innovation excellence, and to provide strategic advice to the government on how to make the most of our investment in science and R&D.”

    A Cambridge graduate, Dr Garrett is presently a part-time Visiting Fellow in Innovation with the Australian National University (ANU) and is the co-author with Sir Graeme Davies, recently retired Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, of the just published Herding Cats - Being advice to aspiring academic and research leaders.

    Premier Bligh said that Dr Garrett was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours list and was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s 2008 ‘True Leaders’.

    "Dr Garrett has a reputation for innovation and excellence, and a passion for science communication and engagement,” said the Premier.

    “He will integrate seamlessly into the Queensland research, innovation and science community, and has the business expertise to work closely and effectively with Queensland, national and international industry and commercialisation interests.”

    The Chief Scientist will continue to report directly to the Premier.

    A biography on Dr Garrett follows.

    Media contact: 07 32244500

    Dr Geoff Garrett AO

    Prior to joining CSIRO, Geoff led South Africa’s national science agency (the CSIR) from 1995, following five years as Executive Vice President: Operations. He was named South Africa’s ‘Boss of the Year’ in 1998, and ‘Engineer of the Year’ by the South African Society of Professional Engineers in 1999.

    Dr Garrett is a graduate of Cambridge University where he completed a doctorate in metallurgy. He then took up a lecturing position at the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining the CSIR in 1986 to head up South Africa’s National Institute for Materials Research, he was Professor and Head of Department at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He held visiting positions at Brown University (RI, USA), and at Oxford and Sheffield Universities. His research interests centred around the fracture and fatigue behaviour of engineering materials.

    On joining CSIRO, Dr Garrett and his team undertook a program of major strategic and operational transformation, seeking to achieve greater focus through their Flagship Programs on the major scientific challenges for Australia, including water, clean energy, health and climate change, and opportunities in minerals and mining, manufacturing, new food technologies and ocean science. Key to this was developing stronger partnerships across the innovation system, and growing the organisation’s impact through a more unified ‘One-CSIRO’ approach. In December 2008 CSIRO’s Flagship Programs received the top Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management.

    Dr Garrett is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Royal Society of South Africa and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and served on the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council in Australia for eight years. From 2002 he also served as a founder Principal and subsequently as an Executive Committee member of the Global Research Alliance, a group which brings together some of the world’s most significant R&D organisations, spanning five continents.

    Dr Garrett is a recipient of the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through science, and was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s 2008 ‘True Leaders’. In June 2008 he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

    Dr Garrett is presently a part-time Visiting Fellow in Innovation with the Australian National University. He has recently been extensively engaged with an International Review for the US National Science Foundation of the major, 24 country Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.