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John Stocker interviewed by Diana Giese in the Australians of the year oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 1937132
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Stocker, John W. (John Wilcox), 1945-, Interviewee
Access Conditions Access open for research; written permission required for personal copies and public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 2000 
2 digital audio tapes (ca. 104 min.) 

Australians of the year oral history project.


Dr John Stocker, a scientist, speaks of his early years and upbringing, how he excelled in medicine while at University of Melbourne, his doctorate undertaken under Gustav Nossal on immunological tolerance which threw new light on immune mechanisms, his time at Basel Institute of Immunology from 1976-78, his transition into commercial medical research in 1979 at Hoffman-LaRoche's Central Research Unit where he was involved on a taskforce to assess scientific and commercial opportunities offered by biotechnologically engineered vaccines and this lead to becoming the Director of Pharmaceutical Research at Hoffman-LaRoche, in 1987 he returned to Australia as a founder of AMRAD Corporation which was a bold attempt to establish an indigenous pharmaceutical industry in Victoria to capitalise on that state's first class medical research and commercialise Australian biomedical discoveries.

Stocker talks about his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of CSIRO (1990-95), with the aim of forming collaborative research and development efforts with private enterprises such as BHP to create new Australian industries, the identifying of key industries, better long-term planning of research investments such as the National Priorities Plan which included amongst its priorities clean and green food production, new biotechnology to revolutionise the production of drugs using gene shears as well as disease-resistant crops, improved mineral and energy production and the creation of new products such as high-tech ceramics and polymers, appointment as Chief Scientist and Chairman of the Australian Scientific, Technological and Engineering Council (1996-8), with aim of promoting public awareness of science, focus on the importance of Australian marine resources and develop strategies to dramatically increase private investment in R&D.

He discusses his involvement in the private company Foursight which is a group of four high-profile scientific statesmen selling their experience to the corporate workplace by advising corporations on the cost-benefits of financing biomedical research, counsels academic institutions on management strategies supporting hospitals and research bodies, and steering potential investors to areas with R&D potential, Foursight's clients include Starpharma developing new synthetic compounds to deactivate virus like HIV and herpes, and Biota Holdings which developed a flu drug, his nomination as Australian of the Year used as a platform to lobby for a vision of Australia's scientific and technological future to include a 10-15 year plan for high-tech Australian industry as well as training and employing quality scientists.


Recorded on June 1, 2000 in Melbourne, Vic.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Index/Finding Aid Note Summary available (handscript, 2 p.) and uncorrected transcript (typescript, 47 leaves). 
Subjects Stocker, John W. (John Wilcox), 1945- -- Interviews.  |  CSIRO.  |  Foursight.  |  Hoffman-LaRoche.  |  Research and development -- Australia.  |  Scientists -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Medical research personnel -- Australia -- Interviews.
Occupation Scientists.
Other authors/contributors Giese, Diana, 1947-, Interviewer

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