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Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to return to Australia

16 September 2011

The Director (CEO and Chief Scientist), of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Professor Stephen Hopper FLS has decided to step down in the autumn of 2012 after six years in the job. He will return to Australia to take up a new Chair in Biodiversity at The University of Western Australia in order to devote more time to research, writing and teaching in biodiversity conservation, plant science and evolutionary biology. He will explore options at UWA to further develop a significant international research programme, including ongoing collaborative links with Kew. The search for his successor in one of the world’s most prestigious botanical-horticultural posts will begin immediately.

Maintaining a significant personal research programme on four continents, Professor Hopper has led new developments in Kew’s science, including a concerted focus on restoration ecology aimed at repairing and restoring wild biodiversity. His publication in 2009 of OCBIL Theory dealing with biodiversity on old, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes, has been a career highlight.


Steve Hopper said “I came to Kew from The University of Western Australia with a simple aim – to ensure the world, biodiversity and the organisation were in a better place by the time I left. Like all such aims, my time is marked by achievement in some quarters and much more left to do in others. Biodiversity has an enormous role to play in helping moderate the worst aspects of global warming and in enabling people to live healthy sustainable lives. The world is slowly realising this, and Kew has a pivotal role to play in science-based plant and fungal conservation aimed at enhancing the quality of life. After six years at Kew, it will be an appropriate time to hand over the reins to inject fresh momentum and innovative solutions to pressing global problems we all face.”


Read the full press release here

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