The Great Southern Science Council was established in late 2011. Following a call for nominations for membership, eight councilors were appointed and first met early in 2012.
The members of the Council agreed on the following objectives. “Within the scope and purpose of the Council in the region:
1) Through consultation with relevant organisations, identify the needs, knowledge gaps and capacities and set priorities for science.
2) Establish links with universities with a view to attracting postgraduate students and undergraduates.
3) Offer mentoring and encouragement to scientists, including those studying for higher degrees and those beginning their careers.
4) Improve communication between scientists and local communities.
5) Assist the attraction of resources for scientific research, development and education in the region.
6) Encourage the teaching of science in schools and further education.
7) Encourage cross-disciplinary research, especially between scientists working in different organisations and between the natural and social sciences.
8) Advocate and provide advice to governments, industry, science institutions and community.
9) Listen, liaise, debate, consider and represent active and effective science.”
The members believe that the Science Council initiative will address a need for improved coordination and integration of sciences in a region that is increasingly recognised for its unique biodiversity and tourism. To achieve this the GSSC will encourage and link academic, industry and applied researchers with local communities and organisations to improve knowledge and sustainable management of the region.
Through industry, schools, universities, technical institutions, government departments and adult education, GSSC will highlight the value of science and innovation and their roles—such a task is clearly important in the State as a whole, as well as the region. The GSSC will also provide a voice for, and advocate for, a cross-section of sciences, and cross-disciplinary research where appropriate, in the Great Southern, with a view to encouraging links between local, statewide and international researchers.
There are two principal activities that the Science Council will be assisting to organise in Albany in 2012.
The Great Southern Science Seminars have been jointly organised by UWA Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management (CENRM), the Department of Agriculture and Food, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Water, and South Coast NRM Inc. The Seminars are aimed at scientists and professionals in the natural and agricultural sciences with an interest in research, policy, planning and management with relevance to the South Coast and Great Southern.
The Great Southern Great Science symposium is scheduled on Friday 10 August. This annual Symposium profiles the exciting science and research being undertaken by scientists in the Great Southern or that has relevance to the Great Southern. The Symposium is open to the general public. The Symposium is organised by a committee comprising of representatives from CENRM, Great Southern Development Commission, Chief Scientist’s Office, Museum WA (Albany), and the GSSC.
The current members of the Great Southern Science Council are:
Chair: Philip Cocks, PhD, Ecologist, agricultural scientist, research manager, researcher. A scientist with considerable experience as an international agricultural researcher.
Deputy Chair: James Reynoldson, PhD, pharmacologist, researcher, senior tertiary education manager. A consultant with expertise in managing research projects, tertiary education and pharmacology.
Wal Anderson, BSc, MSc, PhD. An agronomist with extensive experience in overseas aid projects. Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science.
Naomi Arrowsmith, BSc Hons (Chemistry), Grad Dip Env Sci. A senior public servant with extensive experience in science planning, coordination and communication.
Richard Ball, DPhil Computational Chemistry University of Oxford, MBA. A consultant specialising in technology development, innovation, strategy and the international marketing of technical products.
Louise Duxbury BA, Env Sci (Hons),PhD. A manager of environmental and educational projects, including workshop facilitation, delivery of training programs and delivery of community change projects.
Julia Fry, PhD, Graduate Cert, Public Sector Management. A research scientist and public sector manager with expertise in regional development and natural resource management.
Craig Sinclair, PhD (Psychology), early career researcher/student supervisor. A researcher with interests in palliative care, rural health, rural mental health, Aboriginal health.
Sandy Toussaint, PhD, Anthropologist, was initially appointed as a member but resigned early in 2012.