Professor Kerrie Wilson appointed Queensland Chief Scientist

Published Friday, 04 August, 2023 at 02:44 PM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Professor Kerrie Wilson, a leading environmental scientist and researcher into conservation science, strategy and policy is Queensland’s new Chief Scientist.
  • Professor Wilson, who will take up her appointment in November, has had a distinguished career in leadership positions with respected scientific institutions.

One of Australia’s leading researchers into the science, strategy and policy of conservation has been appointed Queensland’s next Chief Scientist.

Environment Minister Leanne Linard announced Professor Kerrie Wilson’s appointment during a Parliamentary Estimates hearing today.

Professor Wilson, who will take up her appointment in November, is currently QUT’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Research Integrity) and formerly the Executive Director of QUT’s Institute for Future Environments.

Before joining QUT in 2019, Professor Wilson was the Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland.

She is also an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen, a member of the Australian Heritage Council, and previously a member of the Reef 2050 Plan Independent Expert Panel.

Professor Wilson has held leadership positions including Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy Australia and the Australian Natural Sciences Commissioner for UNESCO.

She has received numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science, two ARC Research Fellowships and an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher.

She holds a Bachelor in Environmental Science (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland and a PhD from The University of Melbourne, undertaken in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, based in Cambridge.

Professor Wilson succeeds Queensland’s Interim Chief Scientist, Professor Bronwyn Harch.

Professor Wilson’s appointment is the outcome of a robust executive search and recruitment process.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science, Leanne Linard:

“I congratulate Professor Wilson on her appointment and look forward to welcoming her to the position in November.

“Professor Wilson has had a distinguished career in leadership positions with some of our most respected scientific institutions and, as a reputable environmental researcher, makes an ideal appointment as our Chief Scientist.

“As Queensland continues to respond to the threat of climate change and its impact on our environment and wider society, Professor Wilson’s knowledge and experience will be key.

“Her work in ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation, conservation in production landscapes, and conservation decision making in socio-ecological systems, will also play a key role in helping Queensland achieve the best outcomes in these areas.

“As Chief Scientist, her expertise and track record in driving collaboration with national and international stakeholders will ensure Queensland remains at the forefront of science.

Quotes attributable to Professor Kerrie Wilson:

“As a Queenslander, and an environmental researcher, I am delighted to take up the role of the state’s Chief Scientist.

“All Queenslanders can be proud of our leading-edge scientific strengths, across the many fields of science, and our outstanding strengths in both fundamental and applied research.

“Our collaborations with many national and international scientific organisations, dealing with global issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, and combating the effects of climate change, will deliver benefits on a local, national, and international level.

“I am determined that as Queensland Chief Scientist I will play a significant role in building Queensland’s reputation for leading science that deliver solutions to local and global issues.”


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339