The Board of Directors of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has appointed Professor Doug Hilton, AO, as Chief Executive, commencing on 29 September 2023.
Professor Hilton is a molecular and cellular biologist, Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Medical Biology and head of the Department of Medical Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.
For the past 14 years, under his direction, WEHI has grown to become a multi-disciplinary organisation that makes fundamental discoveries and works with partners to translate these into improved outcomes in cancer, infectious and immune diseases, developmental disorders and diseases of ageing.
A biologist investigating blood cell production and how cells communicate with each other, throughout his period as Director of WEHI, Professor Hilton has continued an active research program. He and his team hold more than 20 patents and have translated their research through collaboration with venture capitalists and the biopharmaceutical industry.
RIGHT: Prof Doug Hilton will commence as CSIRO’s Chief Executive in September 2023.
On announcing the appointment of Professor Hilton, Chair of the CSIRO Board, Kathryn Fagg, AO said: “Professor Hilton will be a great asset to CSIRO, as the national science agency strives to solve our greatest challenges.
“Doug is a much-respected researcher, leader and communicator of the better outcomes science can deliver. His fourteen years leading WEHI have been exemplified by his passion for research, mentoring and supporting young researchers, building the infrastructure to support the creativity of researchers and a dedication to translating research to improve the lives of Australians.
“Beyond research, Doug has emphasised the importance of strong institutional cultures, and furthered diversity in science. A member of the Champion of Change Coalition and a board member of Australians Investing in Women, he has led initiatives to boost gender equality and diversity, and address better representation of women in senior roles in the Australian medical research sector.”
Commenting on his appointment, Professor Hilton said: “CSIRO is a unique national treasure, there to deliver science for the benefit of the community. The intent of CSIRO and my personal values are completely aligned, and I am looking forward to leading CSIRO as we work to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.”
“I will join CSIRO, after leading WEHI where our staff and students strive to help people live healthier for longer. At CSIRO I know that same sentiment will be there and that’s incredibly important to me. I’m looking forward to meeting the researchers and those that support and enable them, and to hearing about the science.”
The appointment follows eight years served by Dr Larry Marshall, who completes his third and final term as Chief Executive in June 2023. Kathryn Fagg thanked Dr Marshall for his leadership of the 100-year-old organisation, which since 2016 has seen CSIRO invest $425m in Horizon 3 future research, identify six National Challenges to focus on solving, launch Missions to tackle big, seemingly impossible problems and play a key role in the global response to COVID-19.
Kirsten Rose, CSIRO’s Executive Director Future Industries has been appointed Acting Chief Executive from 1 July.