Professor Gavin Brown takes on royal role

29 May 2008

Gavin Brown appointed as Inaugural Director of the Royal Institution of Australia
Gavin Brown appointed as Inaugural Director of the Royal Institution of Australia

Professor Gavin Brown AO FAA CorrFRSE has been appointed as the Inaugural Director of The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus).

Professor Brown will retire as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney on July 10th 2008, after 12 years in the position.

Previously he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1994 to 1996 and his illustrious career includes periods as Vice-President of the Australian Academy of Science 1993 to 1994 and a Council Member of the Australian Research Council 1992 to 1994.

His new appointment was announced by the Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann at an event in London attended by her Majesty the Queen and acclaimed science broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.

Queen Elizabeth officially reopened the Royal Institution of Great Britain last night following an extensive two-year renovation. The RiGB has been the flagship of science communication in the United Kingdom for over 200 years.

The Chairman of the RiAus, Mr Peter Yates, said that Professor Brown's appointment and the significant financial donations from the South Australian Government and from Oil and Gas company Santos would help secure the RiAus's vision of engaging Australians with some of the big ideas in science.

"We are thrilled to welcome someone of the calibre of Professor Brown as director of the RiAus. He has made a momentous contribution to science in Australia. Professor Brown's extensive experience in education and research makes him the ideal executive director of the RiAus", said Mr Yates.

"It is our hope that under the guidance of Professor Brown, the RiAus will stimulate a wide interest in science, bring it into people's homes and inspire discussions around dinner tables across Australia", said Mr Yates. "Issues like climate change and stem cell research that affect us all should not be confined to the laboratory; we need to democratise science so that it is accessible to everyone."

Professor Gavin Brown said, "It is exciting and important to deepen community understanding of the big issues of Science and Innovation as Australia moves to a creative economy.

"This is a marvellous national initiative by Mike Rann and I am delighted that business is on board. This is a big challenge about which I am passionate", said Professor Brown.

The Royal Institution of Australia is due to open in early 2009 and will be housed in the heritage-listed Stock Exchange building in the centre of Adelaide.

Contact: Andrew Potter

Phone: 02 9351 4514, 0414 998 521

Email: 344521071c0036310a05583e275e540d43162e3f