The Great Southern Science Council was established in late 2011. Following a call for nominations for membership, eight councillors were appointed and first met early in 2012. Members of the council are local science professionals dedicated to promoting collaboration and the promotion of science to the wider community.
The members of the Council agreed on the following nine core objectives:
- Through consultation with relevant organisations, identify the needs, knowledge gaps and capacities and set priorities for science.
- Establish links with universities with a view to attracting postgraduate students and undergraduates.
- Offer mentoring and encouragement to scientists, including those studying for higher degrees and those beginning their careers.
- Improve communication between scientists and local communities.
- Assist in the attraction of resources for scientific research, development and education in the region.
- Encourage the teaching of science in schools and further education.
- Encourage cross-disciplinary research, especially between scientists working in different organisations and between the natural and social sciences.
- Advocate and provide advice to governments, industry, science institutions and community.
- Listen, liaise, debate, consider and represent active and effective science.
The members believe that the Science Council initiative will address a need for improved coordination and integration of sciences in a region that is increasingly recognised for its unique biodiversity and tourism. To achieve this the GSSC will encourage and link academic, industry and applied researchers with local communities and organisations to improve knowledge and sustainable management of the region.
Through industry, schools, universities, technical institutions, government departments and adult education, GSSC will highlight the value of science and innovation and their roles—such a task is clearly important in the State as a whole, as well as the region. The GSSC will also provide a voice for, and advocate for, a cross-section of sciences, and cross-disciplinary research where appropriate, in the Great Southern, with a view to encouraging links between local, statewide and international researchers.
The GSSC continues to be involved in convening and supporting many local science activities in the region including the Great Southern Science Symposium, 'Science Rocks' forum and resources posters for schools.
The current members of the Great Southern Science Council are:
- Chair: Philip Cocks, PhD. Ecologist, agricultural scientist, research manager, researcher. A scientist with considerable experience as an international agricultural researcher.
- Wal Anderson, PhD. An agronomist with extensive experience in overseas aid projects. Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science.
- Craig Sinclair, PhD (Psychology). Early career researcher/student supervisor. A researcher with interests in palliative care, rural health, rural mental health, Aboriginal health.
- Helena Stoakley-Medcalf, BSc (Hons), PGCE. Biologist and passionate science educator, teacher trainer and secondary science teacher.
- Catherine Spaggiari, PhD. Geologist specialising in structural geology and geophysics; Project Manager for the southern region of Western Australia at the Geological Survey of Western Australia.
- Liz Tanner, BSc. Project Officer at South Coast Natural Resource Management. Works to build community capacity and engagement in NRM and coordinates and supports environmental education in the south coast region.
- Kath Gray, BSc. Great Southern Science Council Project Officer and a molecular geneticist who is passionate about botanical science.
- Paul Wettin, MSc. Biologist and specialist in environmental water management.
- Michael Perry. Experienced research Agronomist with a keen interest in the South Coast region.