Professor Stephen van Leeuwen is a botanical ecologist, research scientist, senior manager and respected Indigenous leader with strong links to Country in the Busselton and Margaret River areas of south-west Western Australia. Professor van Leeuwen builds collaborative relationships with Traditional Owners and other land managers to co-deliver novel and enduring outcomes for biodiversity conservation, bio-cultural land management, and the stewardship of Country.
Professor van Leeuwen joined Curtin University in 2019 as the inaugural BHP Curtin Indigenous Chair of Biodiversity and Environmental Science, and in the short time since, he has succeeded in securing a range of projects and partnerships linking Curtin with Indigenous stakeholders, corporate mining partners and national coverage research collaborations.
Professor van Leeuwen has a diverse research pedigree extending from threatened flora surveys, fire ecology and threatened flora and fauna management through to biological surveys, arid zone ecology, plant taxonomy and pollination biology. He has worked for over 39 years across Western Australia, principally in the rangelands (Pilbara and Western Desert) and the Kwongan sandplains of the biodiversity hotspot that is south-west Western Australia.
Professor van Leeuwen is a member of key environmental boards and advisory panels, including as a Federal Ministerial appointee to the Federal Environmental Indigenous Advisory Committee, Threatened Species Scientific Committee, and the Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust. He holds State Ministerial appointments to the Board of the Botanic Gardens and Park Authority, and Western Australian Threatened Ecological Communities Scientific Committee. Professor van Leeuwen is also Deputy Leader and Senior Indigenous Facilitator of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Resilient Landscapes Hub, is a member of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network’s Surveillance Advisory Group, Chair of the Indigenous Working Group to the Ecological Society of Australia, an Advisory Board Member to The Nature Conservancy and a member of Bush Heritage Australia’s Science and Conservation Committee. Professor van Leeuwen is the Director of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Healing Country.
Photo credit – Ezra Alcantra Photography