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Chief Scientist of WA

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Recent news

For further information about activities undertaken by the Chief Scientist of Western Australia, you can follow Professor Peter Klinken on Twitter

Opinion Pieces

The following articles have been published in The West Australian as a series of opinion pieces by Professor Klinken:

​#1Science the Key to ProsperityMay 2016​
​#2Harness​ing 'big data' a key to WA future​June 2016
​#3STEM can bear fruit of Olympic importance​August 2016
​#4Science on the menu to create dining boom ​September 2016

Radio Interviews

Professor Klinken participated in the following radio interviews in 2016:

​#1​720 ABC Breakfast – science in schools and careers in science​May 2016
​#2720 ABC Breakfast – Square Kilometre Array project, science in WA and future jobs​June 2016
​#3ABC Radio National Breakfast – big data​July 2016
​#4720 ABC Breakfast – Premier’s Science Awards​July 2016
​#5720 ABC Breakfast – National Science Week​August 2016

2016 Highlights 

  • Data Linkage Review – Professor Klinken chaired the Data Linkage Expert Advisory Group which undertook a review of WA’s data linkage capabilities. A report was submitted to the Premier in mid-December 2016. For more information visit the Data Linkage Review page on this website.
  • Steering Committee for the Blueprint for Marine Science Initiative Implementation Strategy 2016-18 – Professor Klinken co-chairs the Steering Committee which was convened in 2016.
  • Science and Agribusiness Connect (SAC) – Professor Klinken chaired the evaluation panel for the Premier’s Agriculture and Food Fellowship Program which resulted in the appointment of Professor Simon Cook in August 2016. Professor Klinken also chaired the panel for Round 1 of the Premier’s Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program which resulted in four scholarships being awarded. For more information visit the SAC page on this website.

  • 2nd International Conference on Science Advice to Government – Professor Klinken travelled to Brussels to attend the conference and also visited a number of science and technology parks/hubs in and around London.
  • Premier’s Science Awards – Professor Klinken chaired the judging panel for the 2016 Premier’s Science Awards and undertook the role of Master of Ceremonies at the presentation ceremony on 18 August 2016. For more information visit the Science Awards page on this website.
  • Chief Scientist’s STEM Education Working Group – Professor Klinken chairs the Working Group which was convened in 2016 and comprises representatives of the schools sectors, teacher professional associations, universities, training and workforce development and industry.
  • WA Science Hall of Fame – on 6 December 2016, Professor Klinken assisted in the unveiling of Professor Ian Ritchie’s citation on the WA Science Hall of Fame honour board, located at Scitech. The life, work and achievements of Professor Ian Ritchie were celebrated with his posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame. For more information visit the WA Science Hall of Fame page on this website

Investing in science education

CS 31 May 2016.JPGProfessor Klinken accompanied the Minister for Education, the Hon. Peter Collier MLC to Ashdale Primary School for the announcement of $4 million in new funding to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in WA primary and secondary schools, and $2.7 million for new teaching and learning resources for all public primary schools. Investment in STEM education helps prepare children for the future in a rapidly advancing world.

Amongst a classroom filled with programmable robots and tablets loaded with coding apps, Professor Klinken noted that "the curiosity of the young is just burning, in the classroom you could see the kids having a marvellous time. You want to make sure that continues on, not just into high school, but through university and later life."

A Channel 10 news story covered the announcement - see below.

In addition, the article STEM can bear fruit of Olympic importance was published in The West Australian on Monday 15 August 2016 and was the third in a series of opinion pieces by Professor Klinken. 


The power of data intensive science and data linkage

WA is regarded as a world leader in data linkage. Professor Peter Klinken recently spoke with ScienceNetworkWA about the power of data linkage in making informed decisions for the community.

The article Big data research skills come under the microscope was published by ScienceNetworkWA on 30 May 2016. For more information, visit the ScienceNetwork WA website.

In addition, the article Harnessing 'big data' a key to WA future was published in The West Australian on Tuesday 28 June 2016 and was the second in a series of opinion pieces by Professor Klinken.

Professor Klinken is also chairing a review examining ways to maximise the state’s competitive advantages in health research and data linkage and come up with ways to make the most of the valuable data collected by government agencies. Further information about the Review is available on the DPC website.

Talking science with ABC breakfast

Professor Klinken is passionate about passing on his love of science to younger generations. He spoke to James Lush, from 720ABC Perth Radio on Tuesday 31 May 2016 about the school curriculum, research in Perth, and future jobs in science.

A link to the interview is available on the 720 ABC Soundcloud.  

Science the key to prosperity

The west image.JPGTechnology, Collaboration and STEM education were three opportunities explored this week by Professor Peter Klinken in an opinion piece published in The West Australian newspaper.

As Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor Klinken believes Australia is at an important juncture and needs to embrace the rapid changes globally to continue to be a world leader in science. He writes that science affects virtually every aspect of our lives, has been crucial to WA's development and is essential for our future. 

The article Science the Key to Prosperity was published on Tuesday 24 May 2016 and was the first in a series of opinion pieces to be published in The West Australian by the Chief Scientist of Western Australia.


The Chief Scientist of Western Australia provides advice on topics that are important to the future of science in Western Australia.

The Chief Scientist reports directly to the Minister for Science and provides independent, external advice to the State Government on:

  • Science and innovation in Western Australia.
  • Broadening the economy through science.
  • Developing science industries in the State.
  • Promoting Western Australia as a science leader in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Chief Scientist works closely with the Office of Science and plays a key role in:

  • Enhancing collaboration locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Attracting Commonwealth and industry investment into Western Australian science.
  • Building leading-edge scientific capacity in the State.
  • Promoting science policies and initiatives at meetings across academia, industry, Government and the community.
  • Acting as an ambassador for science, helping the State Government raise public awareness of the importance of science.

Professor Peter Klinken

Photo of Prof Peter Klinken. Credit: Jody D'ArcyProfessor Klinken is a leading Western Australian medical research scientist, highly regarded for his work in advancing the understanding of genes involved in leukaemia, cancer and anaemia. His many research achievements include the discovery of a gene that supresses the growth of tumours.

After obtaining his PhD from The University of Western Australia, he undertook research at the US National Institutes of Health in Washington and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne.

His previous roles have included Professor in Clinical Biochemistry at The University of Western Australia;  Director of Research at the Royal Perth Hospital; and the Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (previously the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research).

Under his stewardship, the Perkins Institute attracted world-class national and international researchers to the State and made numerous acclaimed medical discoveries. He also spear-headed the development of two new state-of-the-art medical research facilities, Perkins North in Nedlands (QEII Medical Centre) and Perkins South in Murdoch (Fiona Stanley Hospital).

Professor Klinken brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role of Chief Scientist. His input will support the Government in growing the State's science industries to achieve future prosperity for Western Australians. 


On 30 July 2015, the Premier announced the reappointment of Professor Peter Klinken to the role of Chief Scientist of Western Australia for a further two years until June 2017. For further information view the media statement.

The next year will be a very busy one for Professor Klinken. As well as continuing with his previous responsibilities, other priorities include co-chairing the Marine Science Roundtables; continued provision of advice on the Strategic Assessment of Perth Peel Region; and working with stakeholders to develop a long-term strategy for agricultural research in the State.

Professor Klinken began his tenure on 10 June 2014 and is Western Australia’s third Chief Scientist, since the role was established in 2003. Professor Bruce Hobbs AO was the inaugural Chief Scientist (2003-2006), followed by Professor Lyn Beazley AO (2006 to 2013). For more information view the media statement


Please contact the Chief Scientist or the Office of Science on 6552 6080.

2015 Activities

Keynote address to promote STEM at Cecil Andrews

Professor Klinken was the keynote speaker at a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education presentation at Cecil Andrews Senior High School on 29 July 2015.

Professor Klinken said STEM education was a key factor in the state’s science priorities – mining and energy, health and medicine, agriculture and food, biodiversity, marine science and radio astronomy.

 For further information view the Push to develop STEM studies article published on the Community News website. 

Chief Scientist visits Murchison Radio-Astronomy ObservatoryVisit to the MRO in July 2015

In July 2015, Professor Klinken accompanied Karen Andrews MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Australian Minister for Industry and Science, as part of a visit to the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).

The visiting party visited the ASKAP and MWA telescopes constructed and operating at the MRO and toured support buildings and infrastructure.

The MRO, located 315km north-east of Geraldton will be Australia's core site for the Square Kilometre Array Project, a global endeavour to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope.

For further information view the Premier's media statement and Parliamentary Secretary's media release.

State of the Nation: Earth, Sea and Sky

July Issue Cover of AQ Magazine



Professor Peter Klinken, became the inaugural author of Australian Quarterly’s new State of the Nation section. The new column will invite each of the country’s Chief Scientists to appraise the situation for science in their state; what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses and what opportunities are each of the states going to capitalise on?

For further information and to subscribe visit the AQ Magazine website.



Chief Scientist visit to Landgate

Professor Peter Klinken visited Landgate's Midland office on 27 July 2015 and was provided with an overview of Landgate’s Innovation Program and the businesses and services Landgate provides to the individuals, government and the wider community.

Professor Klinken was also briefed on the potential of open data and presented with a Property Interest Report on his own property to demonstrate the power of shared land data.

Professor Klinken’s visit was timely with the State Government recently launching its Open Data Policy. For further information view the Landgate’s innovative spirit impresses Chief Scientist article published on the Intersector website.

Keynote address at CONASTA

In July 2015, Professor Klinken addressed the national science education conference of the Australian Science Teachers.

Professor Klinken spoke about the future of science in Western Australia, the changing nature of the job market and job opportunities for future generations indicating that 75 per cent of the new jobs will require science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills and that 40 per cent of current jobs may not exist in a decade.

Professor Klinken said as well as providing children with a strong grounding in science in primary school and lower secondary, science should be compulsory for students in Years 11 and 12. For further information view the Push for more science article published by the West Australian.

Back to School with Professor Peter Klinken



In June 2015, Professor Klinken was interviewed by Student Edge's Simon Miraudo about his student days. 

Professor Klinken’s interview with Student Edge is available to view on YouTube




Perth hosts meeting of Chief ScientistsProfessor Peter Klinken and Professor Ian Chubb at the Perth FACS Public Lecture

In June 2015, Professor Peter Klinken hosted the Forum of Australian Chief Scientists that was held in Perth for the first time. The meeting brought together Chief Scientists from each State and Territory and Australia's Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb to discuss scientific issues nationally, including science priorities; increasing research and development efforts; and encouraging stronger links between government, industry and research organisations.

Professor Klinken said that the Perth meeting provided invaluable opportunities to highlight some of the State's science activities and capabilities at a national level and further the development of networks and information exchange between Chief Scientists.

The program of events also included a free public lecture entitled 'Building Momentum on STEM Policy' by the Australian Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC. The audio recording of the lecture is now available to play online or download.

Chief Scientist checks estuary health

Professor Klinken at Goegrup LakeThe decline in the ecological health of the Peel-Harvey estuary was the focus of a visit organised by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council in May 2015.

Professor Klinken inspected three separate locations where consequences of the threats impacting the estuary were most evident, and said the visit provided him with an overview of the challenges being faced in the Peel-Harvey catchment area.

Professor Klinken said he saw the catchment’s health as a very significant issue which needs serious examination. For more information view the WA Chief Scientist Checks Catchment Health article on the Peel Harvey Catchment Council website.