Home > Leading scientist receives 2012 agribusiness leadership award

Leading scientist receives 2012 agribusiness leadership award

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article image Dr Jim Peacock
Internationally-renowned scientist Dr Jim Peacock AC has been named 2012 recipient of the Rabobank Leadership Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the food and agricultural industries.

Australia’s former Chief Scientist and currently Fellow and Chair of CSIRO’s Office of the Chief Executive Science Team and Distinguished Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, Dr Peacock was recently presented with the award at the annual Rabobank Leadership Award Dinner in Sydney.

In addition to serving as Chief Scientist to Australia from 2006 to 2008, Dr Peacock headed CSIRO’s Plant Industry division for 26 years, pioneering research that led to numerous advances benefiting global agriculture.

Announcing the 2012 award winner, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group Chief Executive Thos Gieskes said the work undertaken by Dr Peacock over more than 40 years had ‘resulted in a broad and deep impact on agribusiness in Australia and well beyond’.

Acknowledged as a global leader in plant science, Dr Peacock has been at the forefront of modern biotechnology research, playing a key role in developing new biological innovations and fostering their application into the agribusiness industries.  

Dr Peacock’s achievements include:

  • Developing gene technology research programs to benefit Australia’s important crop and pasture species, championing new approaches to wheat, barley and cotton breeding
  • Facilitating the commercial introduction of a transgenic crop, insect-resistant cotton in Australia
  • Initiating the development of a low-GI and high-fibre CSIRO variety of barley, barleymax, now available on supermarket shelves
  • Founding the Gene Shears biotechnology company to commercialise ribozymes, a technology with significant potential for agricultural products and medical applications
  • Establishing Grain Gene, an alliance to work on projects of importance to the wheat industry
  • Involvement in development of the High Rainfall Zone Wheat Alliance between New Zealand and Australian research groups and wheat-breeding companies to develop new high-rainfall wheat varieties
Mr Gieskes adds that Dr Peacock has also contributed immensely to promoting science education in the school system. In addition to helping establish the Discovery Centre in Canberra, an interactive outreach centre, which showcases CSIRO’s activities to students and the general public, Dr Peacock has initiated a number of programs to build scientific interest and skills among school children, including Primary Connections for Australian primary schools, Science by Doing for secondary school science teachers and Scientists in Schools, which forms partnerships between teachers and scientists (with more than 1600 partnerships existing in Australian schools today).

Dr Peacock was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), the nation’s highest honour, in 1994, for his contribution to science and scientific education in schools. He is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and a CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement, in addition to numerous international honours.

The Rabobank Leadership Award is a key recognition of achievement in, and contribution to Australia and New Zealand’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

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