From Monday February 5th Professor Matthew Gilliham will step away from his WRI Director’s position, and Professor Matthew Tucker will take over the role as an interim director for the next 12 months.

Please find below a message from Professor Matthew Gilliham:

It has been an honour and a pleasure serving as Director (and Deputy Director) at the Waite Research Institute for the past five years.

I would like to thank our members, partners, and affiliates for making the job a very fulfilling one. Representing and advocating for agriculture internally at the University and externally to our stakeholders, and driving and supporting new research programs and industry partnerships has been an enjoyable challenge, and rewarding.

We have expanded the portfolio of the Waite Research Institute, formed diverse teams, instigated new university wide strategies, and forged closer and functional partnerships with government and national agencies. You will be aware of the initiatives we have supported over the years too numerous to mention, and these are catalogued in our annual reports which can be found here.

I am particularly proud that we continue to support E/MCRs and research leadership development through our mentorship and grant stewardship programs, as well as our role in recruitment of diverse and dynamic research talent, which I am certain is a foundation for continued success at the Waite. I would go as far as saying that in the 100th year of the Waite Institute we are as talented as we have ever been, and more dynamic and diverse than ever before, forging new research wins on multiple fronts.    

As of today, I will be stepping away from the Director role to concentrate on one of our recent successes, and I will take up the Directorship of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plants for Space (P4S) full time. This centre initiated officially in January this year and will run for seven years in the first instance. Both the Centre and Institute need full time leaders to capitalise on the opportunities they present so it is the right time for change. I will continue as a member of WRI in my new role and look forward to the new business and partnerships we can drive within and for the Institute.

Drs Rebecca Vandeleur and Lieke van der Hulst will be staying in their WRI roles in a transitionary mode until the end of this month, but will also be stepping away into roles with P4S from March. I would like to thank them for their incredible service to the institute, and of Carolyn Mitchell and Keryn Lapidge in my first year as Director, without all of their support and dedication we would be not be what we are today. You can continue to use to contact the Institute as a point of contact.  

I am delighted to say that Prof Matt Tucker, current Deputy Director, will be taking on the role as an Interim Director for the next 12 months as of tomorrow (Tuesday 6th February) during the international search for a new Director. I am looking forward to the initiatives he will drive and the new energy that I am certain he will bring to the role.

I would like to thank the senior leadership of the university for their backing of agriculture during my time as Director, with their support we have achieved numerous big wins. I have also worked with multiple Heads of Schools and Deans of Faculty during my tenure. Thanks to A/Prof Chris Ford for appointing me as a Deputy WRI Director in 2018, before I was appointed to the Director role officially in 2019. Since Prof Jason Able was empowered in the role as Head of Agriculture, Food and Wine positive change has been in abundance. I look forward to the special partnership that the Institute has with the school – as the home for many of our members – continuing to drive success.

Thank you for your collegiality, the opportunity to promote your science, and to work with you to drive a brighter future. Your commitment to brand Waite makes the WRI Director a dream role and one I will look back on fondly. We are an impressive, world-class, beautiful, formidable, and influential community, something we need to continue to nourish, cherish and celebrate (which we will do this year collectively in its centenary and beyond!).

All the Best,

Matt Gilliham

Plants for Space Director Professor Matthew Gilliham

Waite Research Institute Interim Director Professor Matthew Tucker

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