Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
This distinction adds to his recent appointment as a Melbourne Laureate Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute.
Professor Holmes has been recognised for his ground-breaking work on light-emitting polymers. These polymers play an important role in the emerging field of flexible electronics and have applications in flat-screen televisions and solar cells.
He formally took over from current president Professor Suzanne Cory at the Academy’s annual general meeting in Canberra.
He is the 18th president of the Academy. Past presidents include nuclear physicist Sir Mark Oliphant and Sir Gus Nossal, patron of the Nossal Institute for Public Health at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Holmes said it was “an honour to succeed Professor Suzanne Cory who has done so much for Australian science and the Academy”.
“At this crucial time, it is essential to recognise the role of science and technology for wealth creation and improved productivity.”
Professor Cory said that Professor Holmes was an ideal choice to lead the Academy. “His proven track record as a science leader and strong international reputation means the Academy will be in safe hands,” she said.
Professor Holmes is one of Australia’s most respected scientists. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2004, and is the recipient of the Royal Society’s Royal Medal and the Descartes Prize. He was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2006 and has served as Foreign Secretary since 2010. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a CSIRO Fellow at CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering.
Professor Holmes is joined on the Academy’s Executive Committee by Professor Pauline Ladiges, Professorial Fellow in the School of Botany, who has been appointed Secretary of Education and Public Awareness.