William James Peacock

James Peacock

Dr Jim Peacock is Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry, in Canberra, one of the world's leading plant research institutes. His Division is recognised internationally in the field of plant molecular biology.

Together with Dr Liz Dennis, he was awarded the preeminent Prime Minister's Prize for Science Award, 2000, for his part in the discovery of the Flowering Switch Gene, a key gene in determining when plants end their vegetative growth phase and begin flowering.

In the Australia Day Honours, 1994, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the nation. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The Royal Society of London and Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In 1990 he was elected as a Foreign Associate of the US Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy.

In February 1988 he was awarded the BHP Bicentennial Prize for the Pursuit of Excellence in Science and Technology. In December 1989 he was awarded a CSIRO Medal for his leadership of CSIRO Plant Industry. He is Co-Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science. He is a Director of the Gene Shears biotechnology company, Director of the Cotton Research & Development Corporation, Board Member of two Cooperative Research Centres and Scientific Adviser to two major Australian companies.

During his research career Dr Peacock has held a number of visiting professorships of biology, biochemistry and molecular biology in universities in the US.

Dr Peacock has held a leadership position in modern biotechnology research and development in Australia, introducing new biological approaches to many universities as well as fostering applications into agribusiness. He facilitated the first commercial introduction of a transgenic crop, insect resistant cotton, in Australia. Dr Peacock has fostered gene technology research programs to benefit most of Australia's important crop and pasture species. He set up the Gene Shears biotechnology company dedicated to fundamental and applied research with ribozymes, a technology with significant potential for medical applications and agricultural products.

In addition to his high-ranking international research, Dr Peacock drives innovative communication efforts to extend research results and educate key-decision makers and the general public of the outcomes and value of modern science, particularly gene technology. He has brought the excitement of biological research to a broad cross-section of the community and to a large population of Australian school students.

Dr Peacock has published approximately 250 research papers and books. He is editor of a number of scientific journals and participates regularly in international symposia. He has served on many scientific committees for the Australian Academy of Science, Australian government, and international scientific organisations. Dr Peacock was recently a council member of ASTEC, Australian Science and Technology Council, the independent scientific advisory body to the Prime Minister and Government.

He is past Chairman of the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, and was on the Scientific council for the Gene Expression Centre of the USDA, California. He currently serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Rockefeller Foundation, for the International Program on Rice Biotechnology, and as Chairman of the Impact Assessment and Evaluation Group of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.