Murdoch ambassador is Australian of the Year finalist

November 18, 2014

Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart with Professor Lyn Beazley

Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart and Professor Lyn Beazley

Murdoch University ambassador and former Chief Scientist of Western Australia Professor Lyn Beazley has been named WA Australian of the Year 2015.

She is now a national finalist for the Australian of the Year award which will be announced on the eve of Australia Day in January.

Professor Beazley admitted to being “stunned” by the honour adding that she was “shocked and amazed” to be chosen because of the high calibre of the other finalists.

In her acceptance speech, Professor Beazley said: “I’m absolutely pinching myself when I think back to the girl who was the first in my family to even think about going to university.”

The award is another in a long list of achievements for Professor Beazley who was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2009 for services to medical science and her contribution to the development of science policy in Western Australia.

Professor Beazley said she was fascinated by science as a child and decided it was a career she wanted to pursue after visiting Charles Darwin’s house in Kent in the UK and looking through one of his original microscopes at his specimens.

She studied zoology at the University of Oxford and completed her doctorate at the University of Edinburgh, subsequently dedicating 30 years of her life to researching recovery from brain damage and changing clinical practice in the treatment of infants at risk from pre-term delivery.

Professor Beazley advised the state government on science, innovation and technology as Chief Scientist of Western Australia from 2006 to 2013. She also fulfilled the role of science ambassador both in Australia and internationally.

Her many achievements have included establishing the citizen science project Dolphin Watch (which was also developed by Murdoch University scientists) for the Swan Canning Riverpark, setting up a nationwide ‘hotline’ for laboratory technicians in schools and being involved in the negotiations for the Square Kilometre Array, the radio telescope project that is arguably the world largest science endeavor.

And she still feels she has many ambitions to fulfill.

“I want to ensure that science at all levels is properly valued and that scientists can make the most of their discoveries,” said Professor Beazley.

“In schools I want students to see science as a viable career, and that scientific knowledge is an important element of becoming rounded citizens. I want children to be aware that science can shape decisions and policy in community, industry and government.

“Science needs to be at the heart of these three sectors and I want leaders to recognise that it can have a positive impact upon everything they do.

“I see myself as a facilitator for science in industry, in schools and in government. We have to translate our discoveries into real world solutions to ensure it makes a difference to lives.”

Professor Beazley was appointed the Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Science by Murdoch University in July.

This ambassador role involves promoting Murdoch’s initiatives and achievements to the community, government and industry.

She also provides support and advice on the development of relationships to improve industry links and in relation to government funding.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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