Experts appointed to National Science and Technology Advisory Council

Thursday, 20 December, 2018

Experts appointed to National Science and Technology Advisory Council

Six of Australia’s most prominent scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner, have been appointed as board members of the newly launched National Science and Technology Advisory Council.

The council was announced in November, replacing the Commonwealth Science Council as the peak advisory body to the Prime Minister and other Ministers on science and technology. It will focus on the key science and technology challenges facing Australia, providing expert advice on issues such as health, emerging technologies and education.

The council’s six scientific experts have been announced as follows:

  • Professor Brian Schmidt — an astrophysicist, Vice Chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU) and winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics.
  • Professor Ian Frazer — an immunologist at the University of Queensland and co-inventor of the technology enabling the HPV vaccines, used worldwide to help prevent cervical cancer.
  • Professor Genevieve Bell — a cultural anthropologist, technologist and director of the 3A Institute at ANU, best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development.
  • Professor Barbara Howlett — a leading international fungal plant pathologist at the University of Melbourne.
  • Professor Geordie Williamson — director of the University of Sydney Mathematical Research Institute and a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Science.
  • Professor Debra Henly — a researcher in metabolism and diabetes, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) of Griffith University and a highly awarded pioneer of innovative learning and teaching techniques.

Announcing the appointments, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the new members bring an impressive range of expertise to the council.

“The six new members have outstanding records in areas that show how much science and technology matters to our lives — from understanding our universe to cutting-edge artificial intelligence and productive agriculture, as well as high-quality education and healthcare,” Andrews said.

“They will be an invaluable source of expert advice to the government on the key science and technology issues facing the nation, ensuring we receive the best independent advice possible.”

Andrews herself serves as Deputy Chair of the council, under Prime Minister Scott Morrison as Chair. Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO serves as Executive Officer and CSIRO Chief Dr Larry Marshall is an ex officio member.

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