Two of Curtin University’s leading researchers have been granted key scientific appointments by the Cook Government as the government aims to ‘bolster’ the state’s research credentials in biosecurity and coastal science.
Curtin University population biologist Professor Ben Phillips has been appointed as Premier’s Science Fellow – a position he shares with the University of Western Australia’s Professor Graeme Cumming.
The pair will study the interactions between people and nature in protected coastal environments to advance coastal management.
Dr Brenton Von Takach from Curtin University’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences has been appointed as Premier’s Early-to-Mid-Career Fellow – a position he shares with UWA’s Dr Abbie Rogers.
The two will work together to ‘leverage genomic technologies and biological invasion theory to develop support tools to assist biosecurity targeted at surveillance, spread, containment and eradication of invasive species’.
According to the WA government these appointments will grow state research in the fields of coastal science and data analytics, whilst improving tools for biosecurity by addressing needs and delivering opportunities.
The appointments are part of the Cook Government’s $3 million commitment over four years to retain four world-class researchers. Additional financial contributions will be made by Curtin University.
WA Premier Roger Cook says the program would encourage further investment into the fields of coastal science, data analytics and biosecurity.
“It is fantastic to be able to bring such brilliant scientific talent to WA, helping drive research into two such important areas for our State – coastal management and biosecurity,” he says.
“All four Fellows will serve as ambassadors for science in WA and encourage further investment into their fields of study”.
Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Lindy Fitzgerald congratulated Professor Phillips and Dr von Takach on the appointments.
“Invasive species and biosecurity risks pose a huge threat to the environment, health and food production in Western Australia. I applaud both Professor Phillips and Dr von Takach on their achievements in this field and look forward to seeing their important contributions in these areas,” she says.
More information about the Premier’s Science Fellowship Program can be found here.