This article was first published on the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences' newsroom on 18th October 2016.
Dr Amanda Caples (PhD 1986), an alumni of the Department of Pharmacology, has been appointed Lead Scientist to the Victorian Government’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. In her new role, Dr Caples will provide strategic advice to government on science-based issues, support public and private sector collaboration, identify opportunities to increase the commercialisation of Victorian research, and promote the importance of science, technology and innovation (STEM) skills.
Dr Caples said: “The Lead Scientist role provides me with an opportunity to engage on a very broad front across disciplines and across external organisations (including other Victorian Government departments and related entities) to build relationships and outcomes that would not otherwise occur. I also hope to contribute to the national innovation policy agenda where, in collaboration, we can make small changes in emphasis that will have a profound impact.”
After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1986, Dr Caples began a career in commercialising Australian medical research technologies with AMRAD and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute through licensing deals with international pharmaceutical companies, and the establishment of joint ventures and start-ups.
She joined the Victorian public service in 2002 as the inaugural Director of Biotechnology before being appointed in 2008 as the Executive Director Science and Technology to drive the state’s science agenda. In these roles, Dr Caples was responsible for major science and research infrastructure projects across Victoria's technology precincts, the negotiation of international collaborative R&D agreements and for stakeholder engagement on regulatory reforms.
Recently, as Deputy Secretary Sector Development and Programs, Dr Caples was responsible for the development of strategic industry growth plans across the Victorian economy and for support of the Victorian science, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Dr Caples was on the steering committee of Project Mercury, a historic $80 million partnership between the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Victorian state government to accelerate translational research, drug development and commercialisation. The joint venture, BioCurate Pty Ltd, was incorporated on 10 August 2016, under the chairmanship of the Hon. John Brumby, former Premier of Victoria.