Passion for the tropics guides JCU’s new academic leader

9 October 2015

A passion for sustainable development and harnessing the Tropics’ enormous potential are the inspirations of the new leader of one of James Cook University’s academic divisions.
Professor Iain Gordon has begun his appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, based at JCU’s Townsville Campus.

JCU Environmental Sciences
Professor Iain Gordon (Photo credit: JCU)

“This opportunity really excites me, as I am committed to supporting sustainable development, particularly in developing countries, through education and research, and creating the environment in which both staff and students can achieve their best,” Professor Gordon said.
He has previously worked in Townsville for the CSIRO in a number of roles between 2003 and 2010.
One of Prof Gordon’s lasting contributions from his time with the CSIRO was his outstanding work towards the establishment of the Australian Tropical Science Innovation Precinct (ATSIP).
ATSIP is a world-class tropical research hub located at JCU‘s Townsville campus.
“I have spent my life working with people and environments in the Tropics, I was brought up in the Tropics, and I want to see the Tropics prosper.
“That can only happen through an educated society, and that is why James Cook University has such an important role to play.”
In 2010 Iain Gordon accepted the challenging role of merging Scotland’s two agricultural research centres, the Scottish Crop Research Institute and the Macaulay Institute.
The merger gave rise to a new entity, the James Hutton Institute, of which Iain was CEO and Director until taking up this role. The organisation is Europe’s largest agri-environment research institute.
Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Cocklin said Iain Gordon has an outstanding research record, broadly in the field of terrestrial ecology.
“His research features collaboration with a broad range of scholars, extending from ecology through the social sciences, economics and education,” Professor Cocklin said.
“I am sure Iain will bring new energy and vision to the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies and I look forward to working with him in this role.”

About the JCU Division of Tropical Environments and Societies

The Division of Tropical Environments and Societies at James Cook University recognises the grand challenges facing the world today and the particular role that will be played out in the tropics. Here more than anywhere else environments and societies will see dramatic change in population growth, loss of biodiversity, and an apparent need for food production and security.
The Division of Tropical Environments and Societies is uniquely positioned to deliver excellence across teaching and learning and research in these areas. Colleges within this division include the following:
College of Science, Technology and Engineering
The College is responsible for teaching and research in the areas of the physical sciences, chemistry, earth sciences, and engineering.
College of Marine and Environmental Sciences
The College is responsible for teaching and research in the areas of marine ecosystems and impacts, sustainability and environmental design, aquaculture and fisheries, and terrestrial ecosystems and climate change.
College of Business, Law and Governance
The College is responsible for teaching and research in the areas of accounting, governance and management,economics and marketing, law, tourism and information technology.
College of Arts, Society and Education
The College is responsible for teaching and research in the areas of in education, arts and creative media, social sciences, and social work.

Would you like to learn more about studying environmental sciences programs at James Cook University? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.