Dr Ian Poiner



Dr Ian Poiner is one of Australia’s most respected leaders in marine science, with more than 40 years’ experience years driving significant outcomes in the health, diversity and conservation of marine life in Australia and overseas. 

Dr Poiner graduated from UQ with a Bachelor of Science, with first class Honours, in 1976 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology in 1979. 

Across his distinguished career, Dr Poiner has held several senior executive roles, including Deputy Chief Research (Marine Research) at CSIRO and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. At CSIRO, Dr Poiner’s leadership between 1995 and 2004 helped transform the Cleveland Marine Laboratory to support marine science research and deliver impactful outcomes, especially relating to tropical and pelagic marine ecosystems and prawn aquaculture. 

As Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Marine Science from 2004 and 2011, Dr Poiner was critical in establishing multiple major research programs that grew the Institute’s reputation and impact in marine environments. 

Dr Poiner has also held numerous high-profile national and international board roles. These include Chair of the International Scientific Steering Committee of the Census of Marine Life; Chair of the Marine National Facility Steering Committee; Chair of the Gladstone Health Harbour Partnership Science Panel; Chair of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System; and Chair, Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium. 

As the Chair of the International Scientific Steering Committee of the Census of Marine Life, Dr Poiner played a leading role in compiling the most comprehensive inventory of known marine life in the world’s oceans ever recorded, creating 30 million records and counting. The project brought together more than 2,700 researchers from 80 nations in one of the largest scientific collaborations ever conducted, and was awarded the 2011 International Cosmos Prize by the Expo ’90 Foundation, Japan. 

Dr Poiner is currently Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, where he applies his extensive understanding of the reef and associated communities to inform decision making and influence polices to ensure the reef’s continued health and resilience. 

Chancellor, I present to you Dr Ian Poiner, Bachelor of Science with first class honours and Doctor of Philosophy of this University, Doctor of Science honoris causa of James Cook University and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, for the award of Doctor of Science honoris causa, bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland. 





Doctor of Science honoris causa


Bachelor of Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology