Gig guide: The search for a new chief scientist begins

Brandon How

The search for Australia’s next chief scientist has begun, in preparation for Dr Cathy Foley’s departure at the end of this year.

Dr Foley, a quantum physicist, was appointed as Australia’s ninth chief scientist in January 2021. After completing the initial three-year term her tenure was extended to the end of 2024.

As chief scientist, Dr Foley was responsible for providing independent advice to the federal government on science, technology, and innovation. During this time, she led the development of a National Quantum Strategy and a refresh to the National Science and Research priorities, among other initiatives.

She has also spearheaded her own proposal to make research papers open access to all Australians, although this has yet to receive a response from the federal government. As chief scientist, Dr Foley also worked to promote science and research to the wider community.

Prior to her time as chief scientist Dr Foley served as CSIRO’s chief scientist. Applications to be the next chief scientist of Australia close on July 14.

Australia’s chief scientist Dr Cathy Foley.

Former Liberal New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean has been appointed chair of the Climate Change Authority, replacing Grant King who resigns after three years at the agency. Mr Kean retired from state politics a week before the new appointment was announced.

Assembly Climate Capital and experienced director Patty Akopiantz has also been appointed as a member of the authority, replacing now-governor general Sam Mostyn.

Mr Kean served as NSW Treasurer between October 2021 and March 2023 as well as Energy minister between April 2019 and March 2023. He also previously served as Innovation and Better Regulation minister and had been in the state parliament since March 2011.

As previously reported, the Tech Council of Australia has appointed WiseTech founder and chief executive Richard White and PEXA chief technology officer Eglantine Etiemble to its board. Inaugural director and management startup :Different’s co-founder Mina Radhakrishnan has stepped down.

The Western Australia Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation has appointed James Yuen as executive director for innovation and emerging industries. He has been the department’s director for space since January 2020 and is a career public servant.

Cloud and data centre services company Megaport has replaced its chair Bevan Slattery with Melinda Snowden. Ms Snowden has been a director of the company and chair of the audit and risk committee since June 1, 2021.

The Australian Research Council has appointed its an eight membered board that will oversee delivery of its research grants, as previously reported. It will be chaired by economist and former senior public servant Professor Peter Shergold who will sit alongside Cicada Innovations chief executive Sally-Ann Williams and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre chief executive Mark Stickells.

The Queensland government has appointed Ross Buchanan as its next agent-general for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland as well as Senior Trade Commissioner for Europe. He has more than 20 years of experience in trade, industry, and investment projects, most recently as global investment commissioner of Trade and Investment Queensland.

The Queensland government has appointed its 12-membered Queensland Innovation Advisory Council. It includes Sprint Ventures managing partner Georgia Barkell, Gold Coast Innovation Hub chief executive Sharon Hunneybell and electricity grid asset manager Aurtra’s former chief executive and co-founder Terry Woodcroft.

The federal government’s new Inspector-General of Taxation Ruth Owen will begin on July 15, replacing Karen Payne when she completes her five-year term. Ms Owen is currently the NSW Premier’s Department deputy secretary for the Strategic Implementation Group.

IT consultancy Avec has appointed Peter Kirlew as general manager for sales NSW. Mr Kirlew moves from recruitment and human resources firm Randstad Digital Australia where he was executive manager for data and cyber.

At the Ai Group, a representative association for employers, Gemma Daley has been made the new head of media and government affairs. Ms Daley is currently at representative body Independent Schools Australia and is the former chief of staff to Nationals leader David Littleproud. Ms Daley will replace Tony Melville on July 16 who leaves after 21 years with the organisation.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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