Honorary awards

Dr John William Copland AO

The honorary degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science was conferred upon Dr John William Copland AO, BVSc PhD Sydney MSc(Fisheries) Stirling, at the Faculty of Veterinary Science graduation ceremony at 4.00pm on 13 December 2013.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Dr John William Copland AO for admission to the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa).

John Copland graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney in 1963 and completed his PhD in the Department of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Sydney in 1968, as well as a Master of Science (Aquaculture) from the University of Stirling in 1980.

His career has been devoted to the improvement of the livelihoods of many peoples of the developing world, and of the veterinary and animal research capacity of developing countries. This started with 7 years in Papua New Guinea as a Veterinary Pathologist, then 7 years establishing the North East Regional Veterinary laboratory and the Australian Fish Health Reference Laboratory in Victoria. Finally, through his various roles in the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) a part of the Australian Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which provided , funds and manages collaborative research projects between research institutions in Australia and developing countries in Asia, the Pacific and in Africa. The focus of all the research activities was based on Developing Countries priorities and Australia’s research capacity. John joined ACIAR in 1983 as the first research program coordinator for livestock and later established the ACIAR fisheries program. He laid the foundations for the second livestock program in ACIAR. From 1990 to 1992 in Indonesia he carried out an agricultural sector review for the then Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB) and a variety of other assignments, including a risk assessment of the introduction of exotic fish species into Papua New Guinea for FAO, and lectured on fish quarantine at the Universiti Pertanian, Malaysia (UPM). He retired from ACIAR in 2005, after 22 years of exceedingly effective and productive service. Since retirement, Dr Copland has been very active as an advisor to AusAID, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Dr Copland has made an outstanding contribution to the field of animal and veterinary research and production in the developing world. Among many other achievements he has directly contributed to major successful research outcomes on rodent control in SE Asian rice fields, and assisted with the development of a thermo-tolerant vaccine for Newcastle Disease for village and commercial poultry production systems. This vaccine has been widely adopted in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Dr Copland’s career has earned him an international reputation in animal health and animal production science. Among his honours are the AIDAB Award in 1988 for Excellence (jointly with Professor Peter Spradbrow from the University of Queensland), and the 1996 Kesteven Medal of the Australian Veterinary Association and Australasian College of Veterinary Scientists for distinguished contributions to Animal Health internationally, an Honorary Doctorate of Science/DVM from the Universiti Peritanian Malaysia; the Agricultural Medal from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam; and ultimately in 2006, an Officer in the Order of Australia for service to veterinary science.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting Dr John William Copland AO to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa) and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.