TJ Higgins is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He currently serves as a Vice President of the Australian Academy of Science. He has been a member and a Chair of the Academy’s National Committee for Plant and Animal Sciences and has sat on a number of awards committees of the Academy. For many years Dr Higgins has worked for the CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world) as a leading researcher in plant biotechnology. He is also a Professor in the Science and Engineering faculty at Queensland University of Technology. Since 2001 Dr Higgins has collaborated with colleagues in agriculture and food security mostly in West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso). He has also been a mentor and worked alongside them on projects of interest to those countries. Dr Higgins has also helped build capacity in scientists involved in risk assessment and in the establishment of regulatory systems for the oversight of genetically modified organisms especially in Nigeria.