Quantum physicist and 2018 Australian of the Year Michelle Simmons has been appointed to the board of the CSIRO for a five-year term, brought on board the national science agency to help steer the organisation in the COVID response and economic recovery.
Professor Simmons, who is director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, joins the board at a critical time for the science agency.
CSIRO chairman David Thodey has been reappointed as chair for a further 12 months, while Kathryn Fagg, a non-executive director since 2018, a has been elevated to the deputy chair role.
Biotechnology and horticultural genetic modification pioneer Professor Edwina Cornish – a CSIRO director since 2015 – was reappointed to the board for a further three years.
Announcing the appointments late on Friday, Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews the Board members were all dedicated to using science to improve the lives of all Australians and to power the growth of industry.
“These appointments bring a wealth of experience to CSIRO, especially as the agency plays a leading role in our nation’s global pandemic response,” Minister Andrews said.
“These appointments come at a critical time when science and technology are being used to bolster Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and long-term resilience – whether that’s in the quest for a vaccine or driving industry to capitalise on the economic opportunities that will create jobs.”
Professor Simmons, a University of NSW scientia professor, said she is looking forward to working with CSIRO.
“Australia’s future will be underpinned by the quality of our science and our capacity to nurture science-based industries. CSIRO plays a pivotal role in these respects,” Professor Simmons said.
As director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology Professor Simmons leads a team of more than 200 researchers from ten Australian partner universities.
David Thodey said he was pleased to continue as chairman of the Board.
“I look forward to continuing to work with this great organisation, trusted by so many Australians,” Mr Thodey said.
“It is an honour to be able to support CSIRO’s talented people as they partner with industry and other researchers, to solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.”