Engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dr Alan Finkel, is expected to be declared Australia’s new Chief Scientist.
He will take over the role once the sitting Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, finishes his five-year stint in the job on December 31 this year.
Finkel was most recently Chancellor of Monash University, a post he has held since 2008. He is also the President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).
Finkel is an outspoken advocate for science awareness and popularisation. He is a patron of the Australian Science Media Centre and has helped launch popular science magazine, Cosmos.
He is also an advocate for nuclear power, arguing that “nuclear electricity should be considered as a zero-emissions contributor to the energy mix” in Australia.
The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) President, Professor Andrew Holmes, has welcomed the expected appointment of Alan Finkel to the Chief Scientist’s role.
“The Academy is looking forward to the government’s announcement, but Professor Finkel would be an excellent choice for this position. I’m confident he would speak strongly and passionately on behalf of Australian science, particularly in his advice to government,” he said.
“The AAS and ATSE have never been closer; we have worked together well on important issues facing Australia’s research community, including our recent partnership on the Science in Australia Gender Equity initiative.”
Professor Holmes also thanked outgoing Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, for his strong leadership for science in Australia, including establishing ACOLA as a trusted source of expert, interdisciplinary advice to the Commonwealth Science Council.
“Since his appointment, Professor Chubb has been a tireless advocate of the fundamental importance of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills as the key to the country’s future prosperity, and a driving force behind the identification of strategic research priorities for the nation,” Holmes said.
This story was edited at 4:25pm AEDT to reflect that the government has yet to make an official announcement of the appointment of the new Chief Scientist.