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Premier’s Science Commitment


At Western Australia’s 2016 Premier’s Science Awards in August, Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett announced the Liberal National Government would continue its strong support of science education by relocating Scitech from its current West Perth premises to the Perth Cultural Centre.  Mr Barnett said Scitech would remain at City West until 2021, after which it would be relocated to a space completely reimagined as a modern, digitally driven, state-of-the-art centre for science education.

The epicentre of science, the arts and literature

"The State Government's long-term commitment to the cultural centre as the epicentre of science, literature and the arts is already demonstrated in the A$428 million new museum complex," he said.
The Premier also revealed the appointment of Dr Simon Cook as the inaugural Premier's Fellow in Agriculture and Food.  His appointment will see the Government collaborate with Curtin and Murdoch universities through the delivery of a cutting edge agricultural research program.  As the Premier's Fellow, Dr Cook will build and lead a research team in Western Australia to develop the State's capabilities in big data and agriculture. 
The Science Awards also saw conservation scientist Professor Kingsley Dixon crowned Scientist of the Year.  Professor Dixon, from Curtin University, was previously Foundation Director of Science at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and has been credited as the driving force behind its research excellence. 

Professor Dixon's efforts in conservation science, restoration ecology and plant science have been fundamental to conserving threatened species and transforming ecological restoration practice in Australia.  His discovery of the specific chemical in smoke that is responsible for germination in Australian species has had widespread application, being valued at A$100 million per annum in terms of potential global benefits to agriculture, mining restoration and horticulture. As Foundation Director of Science at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority for 32 years, he is acknowledged as the driving force behind the creation of its world-recognised research laboratories.
Dr Scott Draper, from The University of Western Australia, was announced as the winner of the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year for his work on offshore fluid mechanics.  
Audiologist Christopher Brennan-Jones, from The University of Western Australia, was announced as Student Scientist of the Year.  Curtin's Fireballs in the Sky was awarded the Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year. 
For the tenth year in a row, the awards have also recognised lifelong contributions to science through the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame.  Professor Ian Ritchie AO was announced as the 2016 inductee for his dedication to science and his championing of a practical, business-focused approach to science in the State. Professor Ritchie was instrumental in the transformation of the WA Chemistry Centre to the ChemCentre, as well as the establishment of the AJ Parker Cooperative Research Centre for Hydrometallurgy. The induction was made posthumously and was accepted by his son, Andrew Ritchie.

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