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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cathy Foley appointed Australia's next chief scientist

Cathy Foley has been appointed Australia’s next chief scientist, taking over from Alan Finkel when his five-year tenure ends in December.

The physicist, who has spent the past two years as the CSIRO’s chief scientist, is the second woman appointed to the role.

Scott Morrison said as Australia recovered from the coronavirus, the role of chief scientist had never been more important.

“Dr Foley has a big task ahead to drive collaboration between industry and the science and research community, as we look to create jobs for the Covid-19 recovery and for the future,” the prime minister said.

Foley, whose work has focused on the physics behind superconductors, is an outspoken advocate of attracting more women to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Her three-year term begins in January.

She is keeping her powder dry on the issue of climate change, which has bedevilled her predecessors.

“I think everyone agrees climate change is something that has to be dealt with and it’s not something which has a single solution,” she told reporters in Canberra on Monday. “We’re going to have to see over a long time – a whole range of different things and approaches that have to come together.”

Finkel has attracted criticism for suggesting gas will play a crucial role in the transition to renewable energy.

Foley said: “I guess my role is to see how to build on that to be able to make sure we’ve got what’s needed into the long term. It’s not as though we can swap things over overnight, we have to actually work towards that, and have a real methodology which consists of a whole range of components.”

The Australian Academy of Science, where Foley is a fellow, welcomed the appointment.

“Dr Foley has made outstanding contributions to Australian science from discovery to commercialisation and in influencing policy development,” said its president John Shine.

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

This post courtesy of Guardian-Climate

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This post courtesy of Guardian-Climate