Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Peacock, William James (1937 - )


14 December 1937
Leura, New South Wales, Australia
Chief Scientist, Molecular biologist and Geneticist
Alternative Names
  • Peacock, Jim (Also known as)


Jim Peacock was Australia's Chief Scientist from 2006 to 2008, and Chief of the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry from 1978 to 2003. He has made significant contributions to science policy and administration, science education, original research and promoting the application of basic research to industry, particularly agriculture. His research interests include molecular plant science, genomics and gene technology. Under his leadership the Division became a world leader in molecular plant biology. Achievements include the first isolation of a plant transposable element, the isolation of stress protection genes and the demonstration of genetic and epigenetic controls of flowering. Peacock was instrumental in the foundation of several agricultural companies and joint ventures including the Gene Shears Company. Peacock has been involved in science policy advisory committees nationally and internationally. Between 2002 and 2006 he was President of the Australian Academy of Science. His awards include the Prime Minister's Prize for Science.



Education - BSc (Hons), University of Sydney
Education - PhD, University of Sydney
Career position - Post-doctoral Fellow, CSIRO
1963 - 1965
Career position - Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, University of Oregon, U.S.A.
1964 - 1965
Career position - Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Oregon, U.S.A.
Career position - Research Consultant, Biology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Award - Edgeworth David Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales
1969 - 1970
Career position - Adjunct Professor of Biology, University of California, San Diego, U.S.A.
1969 - 1973
Career position - Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry
1970 - 1971
Career position - Visiting Professor of Biochemistry, Stanford University, California, U.S.A.
1973 - 1977
Career position - Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry
1976 -
Award - Fellow, Australian Academy of Science
Career position - Visiting Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
1977 - 1978
Career position - Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry
Award - Lemberg Medal, Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
1978 - 2003
Career position - Chief, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry
1979 - 1980
Career position - Chairman, Sectional Committee VII, Australian Academy of Science
1979 - 1984
Career position - Member, Editorial Advisory Committee, Australian Journals of Biological Sciences
Award - Elected Fellow, Royal Society, London
Career position - Member, Science and Industry Forum, Australian Academy of Science
Award - 10th Anniversary Award, International Board of Plant Genetic Resources
1984 - 1988
Career position - Member, Sectional Committee V, Australian Academy of Science
Award - University of Georgia Bicentennial Medal
1985 - 1988
Career position - Member, Board of Directors, International Society for Plant Molecular Biology
1986 - 1989
Career position - Chairman, Executive and Program Committees, International Board for Plant Genetic Resources
Award - N.I. Vavilov Medal, Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry, St Petersburg, Russia
1987 - 1989
Career position - Chairman, Board of Trustees, International Board of Genetic Resources
1988 -
Award - Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Award - BHP Bicentennial Prize for Pursuit of Excellence in Science and Technology
1989 -
Career position - Fellow, Australian Institute of Agricultural Science
Award - CSIRO Medal for Leadership of the Division of Plant Industry
Award - Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lectureship, Australian Academy of Science
Award - CSIRO Medal for Leadership of the Division of Plant Industry
1989 - 1998
Career position - Director, Gene Shears Pty Ltd
1990 -
Career position - Foreign Fellow, Indian National Science Academy
1990 -
Career position - Foreign Associate, US National Academy of Sciences
Career position - Adjunct Professor/Co-Director, Plant science Centre, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University
1991 - 1998
Career position - Co-Director, Plant Science Cooperative Research Centre, Australian National University
1991 - 1998
Career position - Chairman, Gene Shears Board Scientific Subcommittee
1992 - 1995
Career position - Academic Advisor, Laboratory of Plant Cell & Chromosome Engineering, Institute of Genetics, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing
1993 - 2003
Career position - Board Member, CRC for Sustainable Cotton Production (later Australian Cotton CRC)
Award - Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)
Career position - Member, Advisory Committee, 10th International Biotechnology Symposium, Sydney
1995 - 1998
Career position - Chairman, Impact Assessment and Evaluation Group, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Science
1995 - 1998
Career position - Member of Council, Australian Academy of Science
Award - DSc honoris causa, Charles Sturt University
1998 -
Career position - Member, International Committee, Australian Academy of Science
1998 - 2001
Career position - Council Member, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
1998 - 2002
Career position - Member, Advisory Committee on Genetic Experimentation and Biotechnology, International Council for Science
Award - Farrer Memorial Medal, New South Wales Department of Agriculture
Award - Prime Minister’s Prize for Science (joint)
Award - Centenary Medal for pioneering research on plant development especially the discovery of the Flowering Switch Gene
Award - DAgSc honoris causa, University of Sydney
2002 - 2006
Career position - Director, Australian Foundation for Science (Australian Academy of Science)
2002 - 2006
Career position - President, Australian Academy of Science
Career position - Board Member, CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology
2004 -
Career position - CSIRO Fellow and Chair of the Office of the Chief Executive Science Team
Award - DSc honoris causa, University of Ghent, Belgium
2004 - 2006
Career position - Member, Eminent Scientists Group, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Import Risk Analyses)
2005 -
Career position - Chairman, National Research Priorities Standing Committee
Award - CSIRO Lifetime Achievement Award
2006 - 2008
Career position - Executive Officer, Prime minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC)
2006 - 2008
Career position - Chief Scientist, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
2007 - 2008
Career position - Member, Advisory Board, Higher Education Endowment Fund, Australian Government

Related Awards

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources


  • Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Foundation, Achievements and challenges for Australian science: Distinguished Lecture Series 1993 (Parkville (Vic.): Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Foundation, 1993), 55 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Peacock, Jim, Barlow, Bryan and Carolin, Roger, 'Spencer Smith-White 1909-1998', Historical Records of Australian Science, 22 (2011), 277-90. Details
  • Peacock, W. J. and McCann, D., 'Michael James Denham White 1910-1983', Historical Records of Australian Science, 10 (2) (1994), 143-161. Details


Resource Sections

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn