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Geoffrey Welsford (Geoff) Smithers

Biography

Geoffrey Welsford Smithers obtained his BAppSc (Hons I) from the University of Technology-Sydney in 1976 and his PhD in biochemistry from the University of NSW in 1984. He then had two postdoctoral Fellowships in the USA at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (1983-85), and at the University of Wisconsin, Institute for Enzyme Research, School of Biochemistry (1985-88).

Since 1995, he has held various senior Project, Section and Group management positions within CSIRO Food Science and Technology, and since late 1997, within the joint venture Food Science Australia. In these roles, he and his research team have developed a program of market led research aimed at benefiting the Australian food industry primarily through development and application of innovative processes and resultant novel ingredients.

This program of R&D has been directed, in the main, at the Australian dairy industry where the efforts of he and his team have been responsible, at least in part, for the transformation of this industry from one solely dependent upon the manufacture and sale of commodities to one more forward-thinking, reflected in a more diversified product portfolio, highlighted by new dairy protein and peptide ingredients being sold into the global food, and functional food/nutriceutical marketplace.

Geoff Smithers and his team have worked closely with Australia’s leading dairy companies including Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co Ltd, Bonlac Foods Ltd, Dairy Farmers, Tatura Milk Industry and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Ltd. This work has included joint strategic planning, project partnerships, and process and product development and marketing.

Research activities

Geoff Smithers’ work experience is summarised below:

  • Market-driven research into new food ingredients and their application in the foods of the new millennium
  • Commercialisation of research results, notably in the area of new dairy fluid processing technologies, highlighted by the development of new whey protein ingredients (Murray Goulburn), the whey growth factor (TGR Biosciences Pty Ltd) and Recaldent® (Bonlac) functional ingredients
  • Protein chemistry, protein separations technologies, and protein analytical techniques; particularly as applied to food proteins (Dairy Australia, Meat & Livestock Australia)
  • Science and technology associated with dairy protein fractionation, and development of commercially relevant fractionation technologies for food components in general
  • Agricultural fluid (food, dairy) and waste processing, particularly that based on chromatography and membrane technology (Murray Goulburn, Bonlac, Dairy Farmers)
  • Development of high-value foods and ingredients, particularly those based on fractionated proteins, and protein products for non-traditional markets like biochemicals, pharmaceuticals, natural preservatives (Murray Goulburn, Bonlac, Dairy Farmers, Tatura, Warrnambool)
  • Understanding the relationship between protein structure and function, and exploiting such knowledge in development of processing technologies and ‘tailored’ protein products (Dairy Australia, Wyeth, Mead Johnson)
  • Development of functional foods, based on protein or peptide isolates, with specific and targeted physiological function (Murray Goulburn, Bonlac)
  • Leveraging expertise and infrastructure, developed in dairy processing applications, to cost-effective isolation of new high-value ingredients from horticulture and meat raw materials and wastes (Meat and Livestock Australia, Golden Circle, Horticulture Australia Ltd).

Dr Smithers worked closely with Dairy Australia, the peak industry body that supports research for the benefit of the entire industry. This working relationship dates back to 1989 and has involved strategic planning, industry liaison, and technology transfer, in both formal and informal roles.

He has served on the Prime Minister’s Science and Engineering Council, has senior Australian representative roles with the International Dairy Federation, has a management role in the Australian Cheese Technology Program, and is an editor or peer reviewer for a number of international scientific/industry journals, including: the Australian Journal of Dairy Technology, the International Dairy Journal, the Journal of Dairy Science, and the Italian Journal of Food Science.

He is an inventor on several granted and pending patents in the area of agri-food component isolates and their novel application in food and related systems, and since 1995 has authored more than 50 peer reviewed and invited scientific publications in the international literature.

He has one of the highest scientific citation indexes in Food Science Australia.

Honours and awards

Geoff Smithers has received the following awards:

2006 Sir Ian McLennan Award – for his leadership in project partnerships which have resulted in several ‘world-first’ developments for the Australian dairy industry
2003 The ‘One-CSIRO’ Award, together with other team members, for development of the Food Futures Flagship program aimed at adding $3 billion of value to Australia’s agri-food industry by 2013
2002 Loftus Hills Medal for Achievement in Dairy Science and Technology, an award given annually for the most significant Australian contribution to dairy science and technology

Source

  • Smithers G, 2008, Nomination document for the 2006 Sir Ian McLennan Award.
Find out more
  • Dairy researcher nets major CSIRO award, 2007 (Media Release)