Academy welcomes new Chief Scientist

Dr Cathy Foley has been appointed to the role of Chief Scientist of Australia for three years, starting January 2021.

Australian Academy of Science President, Professor John Shine, warmly welcomed the appointment.

“As an accomplished physicist, the first dedicated Chief Scientist of CSIRO and numerous leadership roles, Dr Foley has made outstanding contributions to Australian science from discovery to commercialisation and in influencing policy development,” he said.

“Cathy is an inspirational role model for her peers and the next generation.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Office of the Chief Scientist under Cathy’s leadership to provide science evidence to inform Government decision making, as we have throughout the Covid-19 pandemic through initiatives such as the Rapid Research Information Forum.”

Dr Foley’s research, according to the Academy, is in the field of solid-state physics and its applications, combining quantum physics, material science and research translation.

Dr Foley’s appointment as Chief Scientist follows her election as a Fellow of the Academy, earlier this year, for her outstanding contributions to science.

“Science is absolutely critical for Australia’s future,” Dr Foley told the Academy shortly after her election.

“If you look at the things we’ve been facing recently, like bushfires, the Covid-19 virus, even looking at how we can have our sovereign capability so that we can manufacture onshore in difficult times, where transfer of goods of services and boundaries is difficult,” said Dr Foley.

“That all requires us to be able to have high quality science which then leads to new ways of doing things, but also working out how to translate it from the laboratory, that is something that makes an impact and is used by everyone.”

Professor Shine also thanked outgoing Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel for his strong leadership and for advancing science in Australia.

Dr Finkel said that good regulation is the best friend a business can have in his opening address at the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association’s Global Heavy Vehicle Leaders Summit in 2018.

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