Government announces key biotech group

Several identities in Australian grains research have been appointed by the Commonwealth Government to the new Biotechnology Consultative Group. They include the managing director of the GRDC, Professor John Lovett.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, said the establishment of the Consultative Group and a Biotechnology Action Agenda were announced by the Coalition during the election.

"Biotechnology is a key technology for investment and employment growth in the next millennium," Senator Minchin said.

"Members of the Consultative Group have all been selected on the basis of their standing in the biotechnology community and ability to represent priority sectors.

"The Consultative Group will work with related industries, universities and research organisations to investigate opportunities for the development of an internationally competitive biotechnology sector. It will also target impediments to the development and uptake of biotechnology products in Australia. "The Group will play an important role in maintaining the competitive position of traditional industries, including agriculture, food and pharmaceuticals, and provide benefits to health and the environment."

Industry members appointed to the Biotechnology Consultative Group include:

  • Chairman, Mr Tony Bates President, Australian Business Ltd and Chairman, Start-up Australia Pty Ltd, a venture capital and management company
  • Professor John Lovett — managing director, Grains Research and Development Corporation, the largest of the rural Research and Development Corporations, and former Professor of Agronomy, University of New England. Professor Lovett is a member of the Boards of BRI Australia Ltd and two Cooperative Research Centres
  • Dr Jim Peacock AC — Chief, CSIRO Plant Industry. Dr Peacock is a Director of the Gene Shears biotechnology company
  • Dr Geoffrey Annison — Scientific and Technical Director, Australian Food Council. Dr Annison's previous appointments include Project Manager, Food Carbohydrates Laboratory, CSIRO Human Nutrition
  • Professor Graham Mitchell AO — Principal, Foursight Associates Pty Ltd, a company providing an advisory service in research and development, with emphasis on biotechnology
  • Dr Jonathan Izant — Director of Business Development, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Dr John Grace — Managing Director, AMRAD Corporation, a major Australian pharmaceutical and biotechnology company
  • Dr John Ballard — Managing Director, GroPep Pty Ltd, a producer of tissue growth factors
  • Dr Bill Henderson — Director and Deputy Chairman, Forbio Ltd, an agribiotechnology company specialising in the application of plant biotechnology to woody plantation crops
  • Dr Elane Zelcer — Chief Executive Officer, Thrombogenix Pty Ltd, a start-up company which is developing new classes of pharmaceutical products
  • Dr Ian Edwards — Research Director and Board Member, Biowest Australia Pty Ltd, an Australian ownedagricultural biotechnology company. Dr Edwards was formerly Worldwide Research Director, Field Crops Research, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and has headed grain research programs in South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • Dr Carrie Hillyard — Managing Director, Bionetworks Pty Ltd, a biotechnology consulting company
  • Dr Annabelle Bennett SC — Dr Bennett is a barrister specialising in intellectual property and other fields, and has experience in biological research
  • Dr Carol Nottenburg — Director of Intellectual Property and Principal Scientist, Centre for the Application of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture, a non-profit research corporation.